Ranked choice voting will be used for the first time in a presidential race in the US under a ruling by the Maine Supreme Court, which concluded a Republican bid to stymie its use this November came up short.
The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the Maine Republican Party failed to reach the threshold of signatures needed for a "People's Veto" referendum aimed at rejecting a state law that expands ranked choice voting to the presidential election.
Republicans collected tens of thousands of signatures but came up shy of the needed level of 67,067 after some were invalidated.
Maine's ballots were already being printed in a grid format for ranking the candidates in the presidential race.
The presidential ballot will feature five names, including Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Ranked voting will also be used in US House races and the US Senate race between Republican incumbent Susan Collins and Democrat Sara Gideon, the Maine House speaker.
Under the voting system, voters are allowed to rank all candidates on the ballot.
If no one wins a majority of first-place votes, then there are additional tabulations, aided by computers, in which last-place finishers are eliminated and votes reallocated based on those supporters' second-place choices.
That adds another wrinkle to the presidential contest in Maine, which already does things differently as one of two states that divide electoral votes.
In the last presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won three electoral votes while Trump won one electoral vote in the 2nd Congressional District, underscoring political divisions between the state's progressive urban south and conservative north.
The ranked choice voting system, approved by Maine voters in 2016, has become a partisan issue in the state, where Republican Representative Bruce Poliquin was ousted in 2018 despite collecting the most first-place votes.
Supporters say the voting system eliminates the impact of so-called "spoiler candidates" and produces a majority winner.
Critics say it's unnecessarily complicated.
They have also argued that it disenfranchises voters who don't understand it.
Australian Associated Press