What Is Ranked-Choice Voting?

Maine will be the first state to ever use ranked-choice voting in a presidential election in November. What is ranked-choice voting, and how does it work? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN discussing the issue.

Please take a listen or read the transcription below.

For more information, please contact us at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP to learn more, today!

Joe: 106.7 WIZN. That’s 38 Special, it’s “Caught Up In You.” You heard Boston and “Rock and Roll Band” before that. I’m Joe Vega, taking you through your Wednesday Rockin Ride Home. And I’m joined now by Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, how are you doing?

Paul: Hey, Joe. Good. How are you?

Joe: I’m doing well, but I need you to explain this new strange legal term. The state of Maine is going to be the first state in U.S. history to use ranked-choice voting in the November general election. And my question is, what is ranked-choice voting?

Paul: Yeah. So it’s probably by saying what it’s not is just as helpful.

Joe: Right.

Paul: So we have what we call plurality voting, winner takes all, right. So whoever gets the most votes wins. And there could be 5 candidates, and that could be 32% of the… if you get 32%, the most votes, then you are a winner even though the majority of the people wanted someone else. So in walks this thing called ranked-choice voting. What it says is that a candidate has to win at least 50% or more of the vote, and if he or she doesn’t, well, this is what happens. So you go to vote and you say, “You know, I like… first, I’d rather vote… so I want to vote with Joey Vega. I think, Joe Vega, he’s my first choice. Paul Harding’s my second. Biden, third. Trump, fourth,” however you do it. And therefore, you list those votes that way.

Joe: That might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me, by the way, Paul.

Paul: And so… but turns out that Joe Vega doesn’t get 50% of the votes, right.

Joe: Right.

Paul: So the people who went ahead and voted for the lowest vote-getter, they then say, “Huh, so my candidate didn’t win. We’re throwing out the lowest vote-getter.”

Joe: Wow.

Paul: “But who is my second? Who is my second? My second was,” well, in this case, it might be Joe Vega, it might be Paul Harding, it might be. And so what happens is they do that until a candidate gets 50% more of the votes, and now, they win. And so it does… there’s a few countries in the world that do this and several elections within other countries that do this.

Joe: Right.

Paul: They think it’s fair. I think it’s confusing. It’s confusing to talk about. But Maine is gonna give it a rip.

Joe: Ranked-choice voting, I get it. I get it. It sounds confusing to me. All right. Thank you very much. Paul Harding, from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, thanks for coming on.

Paul: You’re welcome. Talk soon, Joe.

Joe: Remember, you can call Paul or any of the fine lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at 1800-LAW-1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Mel Allen’s taking over. He’s got music from Journey, Jimi Hendrix, and Alice in Chains, next.