Rank Choice Voting has been justified, criticized and explained so much over the recent past that this very solid reform has left no stone unturned.

RCV has survived some of the harshest political scrutiny I have seen in my years in office. It’s worth revisiting the timeline of how RCV came to be with strong support from the people and why we must vote on it again.

In September of 2014, the citizen’s initiative for RCV was submitted to the Secretary of State, and within a month it was approved for signature collection. In November of 2015 more than 70 thousand signatures were turned in and certified and RCV made it to the ballot. In the second largest referendum vote in the state’s history voters approved Ranked Choice Voting. One might think that given its huge voter approval, RCV would have been implemented without a problem. However, this early approval was just the beginning of what turned out to be a committed effort to thwart the will of the people.

In October of 2017, the Maine legislature repealed RCV. Voters pushed back with a people’s veto petition, and in less than 24 hours hundreds of volunteers came forward to start collecting signatures once again. Despite the worst of winters, those devoted volunteers collected 80 thousand signatures to get RCV back on the ballot. In March, the Secretary of State certified the signatures, and it will be put out to voters again on June 12th of this year.

There has been a lot of criticism of RCV, as the politicians who don’t like what the people demand have thrown obstacle after obstruction in the way of implementation hoping something would stick. But it has not — not in the courts and most importantly not with the people. RCV is still the law of the land.

If there are adjustments that must be made, we can do that. Some tweaks may be the right way to go. But this I know for sure: driving RCV into the ditch when the people have spoken so clearly on the issue multiple times is the wrong way to go. Too many times in the recent past the Legislature delayed and denied the will of the people. Instead, the politicians claimed they knew better.

In June, a YES vote on Question 1 will once again support this new and innovative system to make sure every vote counts. I support what Maine voters have continued to demand. Rank Choice Voting is worth further investigation and improvement leading to the likely conclusion of “why didn’t we do this sooner?”

Rep. Jennifer DeChant, D-Bath, represents District 52 in the Maine Legislature.

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