Is Ranked Choice Voting Legal
In 1880, Maine amended its constitution to remove the majority threshold and allow its governor to be elected by a “majority of all votes.”  Since the governor was now elected by a majority of votes, the same voting rule applied to all three branches of Maine government. Poliquin filed a lawsuit in federal court on Nov. 13, asking that the counting of the second ballot be stopped and the ranking election declared unconstitutional, but his request for an injunction to stop the count was denied.   On November 15, Maine Secretary of State announced that Democratic candidate Jared Golden was the winner by 3,509 votes, after votes for independent candidates Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar were eliminated and ballots with those votes counted their second or third choice.  RCV elections continue to be held in San Francisco, some of which have been the subject of several rounds of counting.  In 2010, for example, two candidates who were not at the top of the first-choice rankings won. In 2011, all three citywide elections — mayor, sheriff and county attorney — were decided in RCV counts.  After the November 2012 elections, sixteen of the eighteen positions elected by RCV were held by people of color.  The design and operation of the system itself was crucial to this understanding.
In a preferential electoral system, “no elector may vote more than one effective vote, although he or she has the privilege of expressing preferences for the candidate for whom his or her vote is to be effective, if it is demonstrated that it will not be effective for a candidate for whom he or she has expressed a greater preference.”  What about voters? Directors recommend a robust training program that explains how to complete the ballot. After the 2013 election, a poll of Minneapolis voters found that 92 percent of voters knew they would be asked to evaluate candidates, and 80 percent found the election judges` explanation of the ranking very or somewhat useful. An administration could do so if it felt that asking voters to evaluate more than five candidates, for example, was too heavy an information burden.  For example, in a five-candidate race in a state that allows voters to place only three candidates on their ballot, a voter could eliminate his or her three decisions during the counting process. In other words, the limitations of the electoral system itself would prevent voters from having a say in the competition between the last two remaining candidates. It is not ballot exhaustion, because the voter decides not to evaluate all candidates, but a product of the design of the electoral system itself. Ballots are used by all foreign voters in federal elections that could have a runoff: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.  RCV is also widely used in non-governmental elections in the United States. Examples include: student elections at more than 85 colleges and universities;  Republican Party coat of arms during state convention elections in three states in 2020 and in Virginia for statewide nominees in 2021; elections for the heads of major associations such as the American Chemical Society, the American Mensa, the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Actuaries;  and the Oscar for Best Picture at the Oscars.  RCV was used by all voters in four states during the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.  In short, the decision fails because of its formal conditions as a doctrine.
Having concluded that it was their duty to give the plurality provision “a liberal interpretation in order to achieve [its] general objective,” the judges did not undertake any significant textualist or deliberate analysis of whether classification – in its own words – could reasonably be interpreted as being consistent with the state plurality provision. Instead, the decision appears to be driven by the judges` pre-existing (and unconstitutional) assumption that only one type of vote is legitimate: a single-choice vote. Ranked ballot is used by colleges and universities, private non-governmental organizations, and even the Oscars to vote for Best Picture.