Maine Legislation Establishes Study on Feasibility of IRV

On 4/1/04, the Maine Legislature passed LD 212, a resolution requiring the Secretary of State to study the feasibility of using IRV in Maine elections.

As passed and signed by the governor, the resolve directs the Secretary to report his findings to the Legislature by January 15, 2005. The report must include summaries of existing implementation of IRV in the US and abroad, the benefits and drawbacks of IRV, the feasibility of implementing IRV, and the availability of federal resources to aid in the implementation of IRV.

The bill that passed was an amended version of LD 212. The original LD 212 would have imposed IRV in all of Maine's federal races, statewide races, and state legislative races, and it would have allowed local governments to impose IRV in local elections. A fiscal analysis of the original bill indicated that the Secretary of State estimated a high cost for the bill. After the original bill was referred to the House Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, the Committee amended the bill to turn it into only a feasibility study.

In full, the bill's text read as follows:

April 1, 2004

Resolve, Directing the Secretary of State To Study the Feasibility of Instant Run-off Voting

Sec. 1. Secretary of State to study feasibility of instant run-off voting.

Resolved: That the Secretary of State shall conduct a thorough study of the feasibility of establishing instant run-off voting in the State. The Secretary of State may consult with individuals or organizations that advocate for the implementation of instant run-off voting and those that oppose the implementation of instant run-off voting in the State during the course of the study. The Secretary of State shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over election matters by January 15, 2005. That report must include a summary of existing instant run-off voting systems in the United States and other nations, the benefits and drawbacks of instant run-off voting, the feasibility of implementing such a system for the conduct of elections in the State and any federal resources that may be available to fund the implementation of instant run-off voting in the State.

2003 ME H.P. 171 (SN)