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electionlineWeekly — November 17, 2016

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 III. Election News This Week

On November 8, Maine became the first state in the nation to approve ranked-choice voting for federal (not presidential) and statewide elections. Under the approved initiative the system would begin with the 2018 election. Now, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap — who will be meeting on the implementation process in the coming weeks — is expressing concerns about the state’s ability to put it in place by 2018. “This is not a recommendation or an advisory opinion of the people. This was a statute enacted by the Maine people,” Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting told The Associated Press.

Taking one for the team. Superior, Minnesota Bruce Hagen is reconsidering his retirement date in order to avoid the city having to conduct a special election. "In retrospect, there can be a smoother transition that will be much less burdensome and with no cost to the city of Superior," Hagen told the Duluth News Tribune. Hagen will now tender his resignation on November 30 so candidates interested in running for his seat can do so during the spring 2017 election. A special election would have cost the city about $300,000.

And in other special election news, the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland has to schedule a special election for two-days after Christmas. The city needs to know by the end of the year whether or not residents want to spend money to purchase land owned by the county. The county board of elections would not allow the city to place the question on the November 8 ballot and the city’s May 2017 election will be too late. "We're sort of in a conundrum," Steve Gamatoria, the city council president, told The Baltimore Sun. "That [Dec. 27] was probably the last date we could have had an election."

While the post-holiday special election date is awkward for Havre de Grace, Mason City, Iowa is currently conducting a special election for an at-large city council seat even while they are still completing the work of the presidential election. The run-off special election is set for December 6. “To put a city-wide election on either side of that, the special election and the run-off election, that’s pretty major for us, so we really set aside a lot of work for the presidential election. We work a lot of extra hours and we hired a lot of temporary people,” Ken Kline, Cerro Gordo County auditor told KIMT.