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Maine will be the first state to use ranked voting this November. Instead of choosing one candidate, voters can now rank candidates by preference, first to last.

How it works

In this system, the candidate with the highest percentage of first-place choices will win the state. If no candidate gets a majority, then the candidate with the lowest percentage is tossed out, and the votes are recounted. Then anyone who had the remaining two candidates as their second choice gets counted as a vote for that person, and the candidate with the majority of votes wins.

This creates space for third-party candidates to actually earn votes and gives voters a wider range of options. The Republican Party had challenged this system in the state’s Supreme Court and lost.

Bottom line

This is a great option for people who want to vote for Independent or Green parties but get flack for “throwing away their vote.” They would not be throwing away their vote if they vote their heart and rank their second choice just in case.

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