29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 4 - Vote Counting Procedures

Current through 2022-14, April 6, 2022

1. Municipal vote counting and reporting. After the polls close on election day, election officials in each municipality will tally the ballots either by hand-count or by using an approved tabulation system as authorized by the Secretary of State and will record the first choice votes cast for all ranked-choice voting contests in the same manner as for contests determined by plurality pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. §695. Each municipality will prepare an election return and will submit an attested copy of the election return to the Secretary of State within 3 business days after election day as provided in 21-A M.R.S.A. §§711 and 712.
2. Ranked-choice vote counting
A. General procedures. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first choice votes based on the election returns provided by municipalities under subsection 1 of this section, the RCV count must be conducted under the supervision of the Secretary of State in successive rounds, as further described in Section 6 of these rules. In each round, the number of votes for each continuing candidate must be counted. Each continuing ballot counts as one vote for its highest-ranked continuing candidate for that round. Exhausted ballots are not counted for any continuing candidate. At the end of each round, if more than 2 candidates remain, the last-place candidate is defeated, and the vote for the next-highest-ranked continuing candidate on the defeated candidate's ballots is then counted in the next round. More than one candidate may be defeated in a single round by batch elimination, as defined in paragraph B(7) below. In the final round, when only 2 continuing candidates remain, the candidate with the most votes in that round is the winning candidate.
B. Handling of certain ballot rankings. As provided in 21-A M.R.S.A §723-A, sub-§1, and these rules, the following ballot ranking situations will be counted as follows:
(1) Overvote. An overvote occurs when a voter marks more than one candidate for the same ranking (i.e., in the same ranking column). An overvote invalidates the overvoted rankings and all subsequent rankings marked for that contest on the ballot.
(2) Single skipped ranking. A single skipped ranking occurs when a voter does not mark(i.e., skips or leaves blank) aranking but marks the subsequent ranking for a candidate. The single skipped ranking is ignored, and the subsequent ranking is counted in the current round, as long as that ranking is for a continuing candidate. For example, if the voter did not mark any candidate for the first ranking, but marked a continuing candidate for the second ranking, then the second ranked choice is counted in the first round of the RCV count.
(3) Two consecutive skipped rankings. When a voter does not mark (i.e., skips or leaves blank) two or more consecutive rankings, then the ballot is deemed exhausted for that contest, and no subsequent candidate rankings marked on that ballot are counted.
(4) Duplicate ranking for the same candidate. A duplicate ranking occurs when a voter marks more than one ranking column for the same candidate. If a voter marks a duplicate ranking for one candidate and ranks no other candidates, then the ballot will be counted for the highest ranking of that candidate. If the candidate with the duplicate ranking is defeated, the ballot is deemed exhausted for that contest and no subsequent candidate rankings marked on that ballot are counted. If a voter marks a duplicate ranking for one candidate but also ranks other candidates, and if the candidate with the duplicate ranking is defeated, then the vote for the next continuing candidate ranked by that voter will be counted in the next round.
(5) No ranking for a continuing candidate. In any round, if a voter has not ranked any continuing candidate, the ballot is deemed exhausted for that contest, and no subsequent candidate rankings marked on that ballot are counted.
(6) Ties. A tie between candidates for the most votes in the final round must be decided by lot and the candidate chosen by lot is defeated. A tie between last-place candidates in any other round must be decided by lot and the candidate chosen by lot is defeated, except that tied candidates who are mathematically impossible to be elected as defined in 21-A M.R.S.A. §723-A, sub-§1, paragraph G, may be defeated by batch elimination, as defined in 21-A M.R.S.A. §723-A, sub-§1, paragraph A. The result of the tie resolution must be recorded and relied upon in the event of a recount.
(7) Batch elimination. Batch elimination means the simultaneous defeat of multiple candidates for whom it is mathematically impossible to be elected, as defined in 21-A M.R.S.A. §723-A, sub-§1, paragraph G.

Notes

29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 4

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