A federal judge on Tuesday threw out the Maine Republican Party’s last-ditch bid to decide its primaries by a plurality of votes, ensuring that both parties will use ranked-choice voting in four different races in the June election.
The 20-page decision from U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy was the last legal hurdle that Maine’s voter-approved ranked-choice voting system had to clear before the June 12 primaries, where an open governor’s seat attracted seven Democratic candidates and four Republicans.
After a vote at their state convention in early May, Republicans sued Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to prevent the method from use in their primaries, saying it infringed on the party’s association rights. But state attorneys representing Dunlap called the lawsuit disruptive.
Levy agreed with the state on Tuesday, saying that Maine’s reasons for regulating primaries “are rational and survive constitutional scrutiny” and that if he adhered to Republicans’ stance, the state would have to “permit each political party to dictate how its primary ballots will be constructed and counted.”