The Latest: Couriers make fast work of ballot retrievals
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Latest on ranked-choice voting in Maine (all times local):
The courier service contracted to retrieve ballots for additional rounds of ranked-choice tabulations says the process is going smoothly.
Mike Israelson from General Courier said drivers had already stopped at about 80 communities by 9 a.m. Thursday. All told, courier drivers have to visit hundreds of towns, including some islands, to retrieve ballots.
Maine was the first state to employ the ranked-choice voting system in statewide primaries on Tuesday.
Additional rounds of tabulations are required in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and 2nd Congressional District race.
Once the ballots are in Augusta, state election officials will eliminate the last-place candidate, reallocate votes, and run more tabulations. The goal is to get a majority, consensus winner.
Couriers will begin delivering ballots to Maine’s state capital as residents await the results of the nation’s biggest test of ranked-choice voting.
A private courier service on Thursday will start delivering hand ballots and memory sticks to a secure site in Augusta. Vote counting will begin on Friday and continue next week.
Residents voted in Tuesday’s primary to retain the voting system, nullifying a legislative delay and allowing it to be used in November’s federal elections in Maine.
Republican businessman Shawn Moody was a majority winner. But no one came close to getting an outright majority to claim victory in the seven-candidate Democratic gubernatorial primary.
In Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, Marine Corps veteran and state lawmaker Jared Golden had the most first-place votes in Maine’s Democratic congressional primary.