Maine GOP to continue petition drive to block ranked voting

March 23, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Republican Party will move ahead with a petition drive to try to block a ranked form of voting as much of the state shuts down due to coronavirus.

Mainers are scheduled to use ranked choice voting in a presidential election for the first time in November. The voting system allows people to choose second choice candidates, and redistributes votes in a run-off style ranked round.

Republican opponents of the voting method have been gathering signatures to try to force a people’s veto vote about the law that allows ranked choice presidential elections. They need 63,000 signatures by June to get the veto on the ballot. If it’s on the ballot, Maine won’t use ranked choice for the presidential election this year.

Signature gatherers had been turning up at public events, such as Election Day polls, but Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas said they will now bring petitions direct to potential signers. They will take necessary precautions in doing so, she said.

“We are doing drive-through stop and sign events in areas where people can stop and sign while following social distancing guidelines, pens are single-use, hand sanitizer being used, everything is outside, etc.” Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage said. “Tactical shift.”

For most people, COVID-19 results in only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover, according to the World Health Organization.

Maine’s the only state in the U.S. with ranked choice voting. Petitioners are about half way to their signature goal, Maine GOP said.



Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said Monday the number of positive cases in the state has topped 100. He said the state is following federal recommendations to focus testing on high-risk groups. That means a lot of people in the state are waiting on test results, and the wait times bring “anxiety and frustration,” Shah said.



The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced all Catholic schools are closed through at least April 27. The move follows similar closures by public and private schools.



A shipbuilder at Bath Iron Works has tested positive for the new coronavirus, and others who came into contact with the worker will have to self-quarantine, the company said.

The shipyard’s medical staff is working with Maine Center for Disease Control to ensure the safety of the workforce, and the Navy shipbuilder continued manufacturing on Monday.

The worker was last at the shipyard on March 13, the company said.


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