An Act To Establish a Nonpartisan Primary and a Presidential Primary Election System and Instant Run-off Voting for State and Federal Candidates
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §1, sub-§21-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §111, sub-§5, as amended by PL 2005, c. 387, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §144, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2005, c. 453, §27, is further amended to read:
This subsection does not apply in the case of a voter who changes enrollment under subsection 4.
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §144, sub-§3, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §16, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §334, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §16, is further amended to read:
§ 334. Qualification of candidate for primary nomination
A candidate for nomination by primary election must file a primary petition and consent under sections 335 and 336. The candidate must be enrolled, on or before March 15th, in the party named in the petition and must be eligible to file a petition as a candidate for nomination by primary election under section 144, subsection 3. The registrar in the candidate's municipality of residence must certify to that fact on a form designed by the Secretary of State.
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §335, sub-§5, ¶B-2 is enacted to read:
Sec. 7. 21-A MRSA §335, sub-§6, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 21-A MRSA §335, sub-§8, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §23, is further amended to read:
Sec. 9. 21-A MRSA §340, as enacted by PL 1987, c. 423, §3, is repealed.
Sec. 10. 21-A MRSA c. 5, sub-c. 7 is enacted to read:
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTIONS
§ 431. Determination and date of primary; voter eligibility
§ 432. Party certification
The state committee of a party shall file the certification described in section 431, subsection 1 with the Secretary of State by December 1st of the year prior to the presidential election year. This certification must contain the following:
§ 433. Petitions
On or before July 1st of the year prior to a presidential election year, the Secretary of State shall prepare and make available petitions for circulation by a person desiring to be a contestant in the Maine presidential primary election of any party. This petition must be completed and filed at least 45 days before the primary election in the manner provided in sections 335 and 336.
§ 434. Ballot preparation; candidate eligibility
The Secretary of State shall prepare ballots for a presidential primary election under this subchapter in accordance with section 601-B.
In order for the person's name to be withdrawn from the ballot, the affidavit must be received by the Secretary of State at least 45 days before the date designated for the presidential primary election.
§ 435. Selection of delegates
If a party chooses to participate in a presidential primary election under this subchapter, delegates to national presidential nominating conventions may be selected by the party meeting in convention under subchapter 1, article 3 at any time after the presidential primary election.
Selection of delegates must be in accordance with any reasonable procedures established at the state party convention. In the absence of any procedures established by state or national party rules, the allocation of delegates must be as follows.
§ 436. Cost borne by State
Whenever a municipality complies with the provisions of this subchapter, the State shall bear the cost incurred.
Sec. 11. 21-A MRSA §601-B is enacted to read:
§ 601-B. Presidential primary ballot
The Secretary of State shall prepare presidential primary election ballots in accordance with section 434 and the following provisions.
Sec. 12. 21-A MRSA §603, sub-§1, ¶C is enacted to read:
Sec. 13. 21-A MRSA §603, sub-§7 is enacted to read:
Sec. 14. 21-A MRSA §625, as amended by PL 2009, c. 538, §7, is further amended by adding at the end a new paragraph to read:
The clerk shall post a sample ballot in or near each voting booth on election day.
Sec. 15. 21-A MRSA §673, sub-§1, ¶A, as corrected by RR 2011, c. 2, §21, is amended to read:
(2) Is not enrolled in the proper party, if voting in a primary election;
(3) Is not qualified to be a registered voter because the challenged person:
(a) Does not meet the age requirements as specified in section 111, subsection 2 and section 111-A;
(b) Is not a citizen of the United States; or
(c) Is not a resident of the municipality or appropriate electoral district within the municipality;
(4) Registered to vote during the closed period or on election day and did not provide satisfactory proof of identity and residency to the registrar pursuant to section 121, subsection 1-A, except that only an election official may challenge for this reason;
(5) Did not properly apply for an absentee ballot;
(6) Did not properly complete the affidavit on the absentee return envelope;
(7) Did not cast the ballot or complete the affidavit before the appropriate witness;
(8) Communicated with someone as prohibited by section 754-A, subsection 1, paragraph B or subsection 3, paragraph B or D;
(9) Did not have the ballot returned to the clerk by the time prescribed;
(10) Voted using the name of another;
(11) Committed any other specified violation of this Title; or
(12) Voted using the wrong ballot for the appropriate electoral district or political party, if applicable.
Sec. 16. 21-A MRSA §722, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §36, is further amended to read:
Sec. 17. 21-A MRSA §723, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §39, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
Sec. 18. 21-A MRSA §726 is enacted to read:
§ 726. Instant run-off voting method
Elections for the offices of President of the United States, United States Senator, Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative must be conducted according to an instant run-off voting method as follows.
"Vote for candidates by indicating your first-choice candidate and ranking additional candidates in order of preference. Indicate your first choice by marking the number "1" beside a candidate's name, your 2nd choice by marking the number "2" beside a candidate's name, your 3rd choice by marking the number "3" beside a candidate's name and so on, for as many choices as you wish. You may choose to rank only one candidate, but ranking additional candidates will not help defeat your first-choice candidate. Do not mark the same number beside more than one candidate. Do not skip numbers."
Sec. 19. 21-A MRSA §759, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §42, is further amended to read:
Sec. 20. 21-A MRSA §759, sub-§3, ¶C, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 21. 21-A MRSA §759, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §43, is further amended to read:
Sec. 22. 21-A MRSA §825, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is repealed.
Sec. 23. Effective date. This Act takes effect January 1, 2014.
This bill amends the election laws to create a nonpartisan primary process.
The bill amends the presidential nomination process in the State. The bill requires the State to hold a presidential primary election if the state committee of a political party certifies that there is a contest among candidates for nomination as the presidential candidate of the party and that the committee has voted to conduct a presidential primary election. Under the bill, delegates to the national convention must be allocated in proportion with the candidate votes and the uncommitted votes cast in the presidential primary election of the party unless party rules provide otherwise.
The bill creates an instant run-off voting method of determining winners in elections for President of the United States, United States Senator, Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative beginning in 2014. The method simulates the ballot counts that would occur if all voters participated in a series of run-off elections and allows a voter to rank candidates according to that voter's preferences. Each voter has only one vote and the ballot count is the same as would occur if voters participated in a series of run-off elections, with the candidate with the fewest votes eliminated after each round of counting.
There is an initial round of counting. If more than 2 candidates have received votes after the initial round, the Secretary of State conducts an instant run-off round. In this instant run-off round, the Secretary of State eliminates the candidate with the fewest votes. A ballot that ranks this eliminated candidate as the highest-ranked candidate is counted as a vote for the highest-ranked advancing candidate on that ballot. An advancing candidate is a candidate who has not been eliminated. This process of counting votes and eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes continues until 2 candidates remain. The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner.
The bill also removes the requirement that a voter must file an application to change party enrollment prior to January 1st to be eligible to file a petition as a candidate in that election year.