Glitch Slows Down Maine Voting Process

One week later, and there's still no word on a winner in Maine's Democratic primary for governor. In the nation's first statewide election to use ranked choice voting, results are coming in slowly.

"We're willing to wait a little bit more time, if necessary, to get a better result and ensure we have a better process," said Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.

Bailey's campaign led a referendum effort to implement RCV in Maine. Instead of choosing one ballot, voters rank their choices under RCV. If none of the candidates receive a majority of votes, instant run-off elections calculate voters' second and third choices until one candidate gets above 50 percent.

In the Republican primary, instant run offs were avoided because businessman Shawn Moody won more than 50 percent of the vote in a four-way race.

But there were seven candidates on the Democratic side, and candidates Janet Mills and Adam Cote are just a few percentage points apart.

To tabulate the run offs, the Maine Secretary of State needs all of the ballots in one centralized place. Last week, a courier service drove to every single municipality in Maine, picking up ballots or thumb drives with ballot information.

The Secretary of State had hoped to have results by Tuesday, but a computer glitch set them back. Their computers were not reading thumb drives from five Maine towns, so state police had to drive to those towns and pick up hard copies of ballots. Now, they are hoping to have results Wednesday morning.

"This [timeline] is probably going to be typical," said Kristen Muszynski, spokesperson for the Secretary of State. "Unless we make a major change to the process, this is how it's going to have to be handled."

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