- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Maine Republican Party won the right Tuesday to collect signatures for a referendum drive to repeal ranked-choice voting in presidential races even as Portland residents voted to expand ranked-choice voting in local races.

The GOP went to court after being denied the right to collect petitions at polling places in Portland. A judge granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday afternoon, allowing the GOP to begin collecting petitions at 3 p.m.

In denying the GOP request, the city cited a state law prohibiting groups from trying to influence voters on an issue before them on the ballot.

Ranked-choice voting is allowed in mayoral races in Portland; the proposal on the city ballot would allow ranked voting to apply to council and school board races.

The GOP wants to roll back a ranked-choice voting law adopted by lawmakers last year to use ranked-choice voting in presidential races in Maine.

The voting system lets voters rank candidates on the ballot and allows multiple voting rounds to ensure a majority winner.

About 63,000 signatures would have to be certified to force a statewide vote in November on ranked-choice voting in presidential races. If the GOP succeeds, then the law would be put on hold until after the statewide vote.

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