September 8th, 2020
CONTACT: Matt Dunlap (207) 626-8400

ON SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT RULING IN Jones, et al. v. Matthew Dunlap

AUGUSTA, Me.—Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap publicly thanked the Supreme Judicial Court for their swift clarification of the status of the Superior Court ruling that had overturned the Secretary’s determination that the Maine Republican Party had gathered insufficient valid signatures to force a people’s veto that would have forestalled the implementation of L.D. 1083, “An Act to Implement Ranked-choice Voting for Presidential Primary and General Elections in Maine.”  The Court ruled on Tuesday that the appeal of the Superior Court decision to the Supreme Judicial Court has the effect of placing an automatic stay on the effectiveness of the Superior Court decision, with no motions for a stay being necessary.  The Court will decide the merits of the case after the parties file briefs on the merits.

Today’s ruling has the effect of leaving in place the original determination of the Secretary of State that the people’s veto effort did not have sufficient signatures to place a stay on the effectiveness of the adopted law and to require an up-or-down vote on the ballot in November on whether ranked-choice voting could be used in the election of the President of the United States. 

The Court did not rule today on the merits of the case, only on whether a stay of the Superior Court’s ruling was in place.  Because the Court determined that an automatic stay resulted from the filing of the appeal, what remains in place pending the final ruling of the Court is the original determination of the Secretary of State that the people’s veto effort did not gather the 63,067 required signatures to force the matter to a vote in November.  “Because of Federal deadlines regarding providing printed ballots to military and overseas citizens abroad, we must tell the printers to begin their work today.  We thank the Court for their swift clarification, understanding that this is not a ruling on the merits.  But now we have to begin the work of bringing the election to the voters of Maine,” Dunlap said.