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updated: 6/13/2018 8:17 AM

Maine's ranked-choice voting requires some patience

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  • Maine Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Shawn Moody is congratulated by supporters  in Gorham, Maine Tuesday,  June 12, 2018.  Moody won Tuesday's ranked-choice voting primary in the race to succeed Maine's firebrand Gov. Paul LePage, while no clear majority winner had emerged in the Democratic primary.  (Troy R. Bennett/The Bangor Daily News via AP)

    Maine Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Shawn Moody is congratulated by supporters in Gorham, Maine Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Moody won Tuesday's ranked-choice voting primary in the race to succeed Maine's firebrand Gov. Paul LePage, while no clear majority winner had emerged in the Democratic primary. (Troy R. Bennett/The Bangor Daily News via AP)
    Associated Press

  • A resident arrives to cast her vote at a polling station at the Kennebunk Town Hall in Kennebunk, Maine, Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

    A resident arrives to cast her vote at a polling station at the Kennebunk Town Hall in Kennebunk, Maine, Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
    Associated Press

  • In this May 5, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody speaks at the Republican Convention in Augusta, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.

    In this May 5, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody speaks at the Republican Convention in Augusta, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this May 19, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills acknowledges supporters at the Democratic convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12 to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.

    FILE - In this May 19, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills acknowledges supporters at the Democratic convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12 to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this May 19, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Adam Cote speaks at the Democratic convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12 to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.

    FILE - In this May 19, 2018 file photo, gubernatorial candidate Adam Cote speaks at the Democratic convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12 to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.
    Associated Press

  • Kyle Bailey, a spokesman for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, smiles as he is interviewed at their primary night rally shortly after polls closed in Portland, Maine, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Maine voters didn't just select their favorite candidates, they ranked the candidates from first to last using the system for the first time in statewide primaries.

    Kyle Bailey, a spokesman for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, smiles as he is interviewed at their primary night rally shortly after polls closed in Portland, Maine, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Maine voters didn't just select their favorite candidates, they ranked the candidates from first to last using the system for the first time in statewide primaries.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this May 18, 2018 file photo, state Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, a candidate for the 2nd District Congressional seat, addresses the Democratic Convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.

    FILE - In this May 18, 2018 file photo, state Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, a candidate for the 2nd District Congressional seat, addresses the Democratic Convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this May 18, 2018 file photo, Lucas St. Clair, a candidate for the 2nd District Congressional seat, addresses the Democratic Convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.

    FILE - In this May 18, 2018 file photo, Lucas St. Clair, a candidate for the 2nd District Congressional seat, addresses the Democratic Convention in Lewiston, Maine. Mainers go to the ballot box, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, to rank candidates for the first time. It's the biggest test yet of ranked-choice voting.
    Associated Press

 
 

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A Republican businessman hoping to succeed Maine's firebrand GOP governor was the winner in the nation's first ranked-choice voting primary, but it could take a week for election officials to declare a winner of the Democratic primary.

No one came close to getting an outright majority to claim victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday. That means ballots will be shipped to Augusta, Maine, for more tabulations next week under the state's ranked-choice voting system.

Residents voted Tuesday to retain the voting system, nullifying a legislative delay and allowing it to be used in November's federal elections in Maine.

Republican Shawn Moody won his primary for the chance to run for the seat being vacated by term-limited GOP Gov. Paul LePage.

Moody, who founded a successful chain of auto collision centers, cast himself as a political outsider in the style of LePage and Republican President Donald Trump.

"I think Mainers have spoken," Moody told The Associated Press. "They want a businessperson, an outsider. And they're not ready to turn Augusta back over to the politicians."


Ranked-choice voting works like this: A candidate who collects a majority of the vote wins. If there's no majority, then the last-place candidate will be eliminated and votes reallocated. The process is repeated until there's a majority winner.

The voting system is used in 11 local jurisdictions and was used for the first time in a U.S. statewide primary on Tuesday.

But it has plenty of critics, including the governor. LePage said Tuesday that he probably won't certify election results. His announcement was largely symbolic. Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said such an act wouldn't change anything.

In Maine's 2nd Congressional District, Marine Corp veteran and state lawmaker Jared Golden had the most first-place votes in Maine's Democratic congressional primary. But it'll take additional tabulations in that race to determine if he's earned the right to challenge Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in November.

That puts Golden and Lucas St. Clair, who led a push for a national monument, in the same boat in the 2nd District as Attorney General Janet Mills and attorney Adam Cote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Couriers will begin delivering ballots to a secure site in Augusta on Thursday, with vote counting beginning Friday and continuing next week.

LePage declined to endorse a candidate, but his family has ties to Moody. LePage's daughter, Lauren, worked for Moody's campaign, and his wife, Ann, endorsed Moody in campaign ads.

The 58-year-old Moody has served as a trustee at the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System. He unsuccessfully ran for governor against LePage as an independent in 2010, and enrolled in the Republican Party last year.

"I don't have maybe baggage, so to speak politically," Moody said. "I think Maine people want a fresh start."

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