Although a clear majority of Mainers favored ranked-choice voting in the 2016 election, over the past year, thanks to numerous machinations by Gov. LePage, the Legislature and various constitutional officers, ranked-choice voting has been forced into dire straits.

Thankfully, a small statewide group of volunteers has not given up on defending the process. They rallied in front of the State House, lobbied their legislators and packed committee hearings to support ranked-choice voting. When, during the special session in October, the Legislature decided to delay and repeal the law, the campaign made a difficult decision with limited time, money and publicity to start a statewide people’s veto initiative.

With only 15 hours before the Nov. 7 general election, the Secretary of State’s Office finally released the petition. Ranked-choice voting volunteers went into action: working the phones, driving to polls across the state throughout the night and even catching early morning ferries to deliver petitions to the islands off the midcoast. All told, it was an improbable, heroic effort.

The Election Day experience reinforces the reality of popular support for this law. All over the state, voters sought the petition and thanked volunteers for their efforts. In that one day, volunteers collected at least 33,000 signatures. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and an example of democracy at work!

Ranked-choice voting is not yet “home free” – but the campaign has momentum. The people’s veto initiative needs approximately 25,000 more validated signatures by Feb. 1 in order to collect the 61,123 signatures needed for this vote to appear on the June 2018 primary ballot.

If you want your voice heard and your vote more realistically weighed in elections, stay informed and active regarding ranked-choice voting. Help the intrepid group of volunteers gather the remaining 25,000 petition signatures. Thank your town and city clerks for their signature-validating efforts. Keep democracy alive in Maine!

Francesca Galluccio-Steele

Portland