Ranked-Choice Voting Process Determines Democratic Party Nominees: Janet Mills for Governor, Jared Golden for Second District Congressional Race
The Democratic and Republican primaries were held on June 12, 2018 using a ranked-choice voting system. By the evening of June 12, Shawn Moody captured the Republican nomination with 56% of the first-round vote, avoiding the need for engaging the ranked-choice process. On Wednesday, June 20, after four rounds of ranked-choice tabulations, Janet Mills emerged as the Democratic nominee, securing 54% of the vote. Mills and Moody will face each other along with independent candidates Terry Hayes and Alan Caron in the Governor's race this November. In the race for the Democratic nomination for Maine's Second Congressional District seat, Jared Golden narrowly missed securing a first-round win against Lucas St. Clair. In the ranked-choice tabulation, Jared Golden emerged as the Democratic nominee with 54% of the vote and will square off against incumbent Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin in the fall.
Maine Engages First-in-the-Nation Statewide Ranked-Choice Voting Process
Following the June 12, 2018 state primary, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap implemented the nation’s first statewide ranked-choice voting process. In order to tabulate additional rounds of voting in the ranked-choice process, Secretary Dunlap's office coordinated a statewide, multiple-day effort to collect all ballots and store them in one location in Augusta. The ballots were unsealed and certified, then scanned into the tabulation machines. After this preparation, around 6:10 pm on Wednesday, June 20, the actual computer tabulation process for the Democratic nominee for Governor was initiated. The process was completed in under an hour. However, the computerized tabulation excluded 920 ballots that could not be processed for various technical reasons and had to be subsequently added into the tabulation. A live stream of the computer tabulation process was available on the Maine Secretary of State Facebook page that allowed viewers to watch remotely. In the fourth round of computer tabulations, Janet Mills secured the Democratic nomination. The Secretary of State then proceeded to run the computer tabulation for the Democratic nominee for Maine’s Second Congressional District, which required only one round of computer tabulation to identify Jared Golden as the winner.
Republicans, Democrats Rally Around Their Nominees for Governor
On Tuesday, June 19, Republicans rallied outside the State House in a show of unity for their nominee, Shawn Moody. Moody addressed the gathering and was joined by all of his former primary challengers and Party Chair Demi Kouzounas, who voiced their unified support for Moody this November. Among the many attendees were Governor Paul LePage and Republican state legislators. On Thursday, June 21, the day following the completion of the ranked-choice process for the Democratic primary, Democrats held their own rally on the grounds of the State House to show support for their candidate, Janet Mills. Along with Democratic legislators and Party Chair Phil Bartlett, most of Mills’ primary opponents were in attendance and joined forces in voicing their support for Mills in November.
Maine Legislature Returns for Special Session, Makes Progress
Lawmakers convened for what was intended to be a three-day special session that began on Tuesday, June 19, to address many key issues that were left unresolved at the conclusion of the Second Regular Session. By Thursday evening, they had enacted several major pieces of legislation, including: a bill to fund Medicaid expansion; two spending packages that provide funding for health care, social services, and county jails; and a bill to extend Maine’s Pine Tree Development Zone program beyond its December 2018 expiration date. Although progress has been made, several significant matters remain unresolved: conformity with the recently-enacted changes to the federal tax code; the errors bill that includes the necessary language to provide funding to Maine’s clean elections candidates this fall; and a number of bond proposals, including the transportation bond. On the evening of Thursday, June 21, the legislature recessed until the call of the presiding officers. Today the presiding officers announced that the legislature will reconvene on Monday, June 25.