The Atlantic

A Step Toward Blowing Up the Presidential-Voting System

Maine’s adoption of ranked-choice voting for the 2020 general election could upend a close race for the White House.
Source: Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald via Getty

The 2016 presidential election pitted the two most disliked candidates in the history of public polling against each other. In the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, millions of Americans found themselves forced to vote for a major-party nominee they plainly couldn’t stand or to risk electing the candidate they hated even more by casting their ballot for a third-party contender.

For the first time next November, a slice of the American electorate will have a way out of that lesser-of-two-evils scenario.

With a law set to take effect in 2020, Maine will become the first state to adopt ranked-choice voting for a presidential election—a method in which people list candidates by order of preference rather than bubbling in just one circle. Maine controls only four electoral votes and splits them in half by congressional district, but the change could have huge consequences if the national presidential race to 270 electoral

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