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Maine to allow ranked votes in general presidential election

Voting booths set up and ready to receive voters inside a polling station in Christmas, Florida on November 8, 2016. After an exhausting, wild, bitter, and sometimes sordid campaign, Americans finally began voting Tuesday for a new president: either the billionaire populist Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, seeking to become the first woman to win the White House. / AFP PHOTO / Gregg Newton

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is set to become the first state to allow voters to rank candidates in a general presidential election.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Friday she’ll allow such a bill to become law in January without her signature.

The legislation requires ranked choice voting in presidential elections and primaries.

Mills’ office says ranked voting won’t be used in a planned presidential primary in March 2020. But future presidential primaries would use it.

Under the system, voters rank three or more candidates on a ballot in order of preference. If no candidate gets more than 50%, the last-place candidate is eliminated.

The second-choice votes of everyone who ranked that candidate first are allocated until someone receives over 50%.

Mills says ranking could empower voters. But she expresses fiscal and logistical concerns.

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