Ranked-choice voting will come into play in the Maine 2020 Senate race with 4 candidates showing on the poll: Collins, the long-time GOP incumbent preventing to hold her seat, Gideon, the Democratic opponent and state Home Speaker, and two impartial candidates.

Maine will even be utilizing ranked-choice voting for the presidential race the place former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will seem on the poll alongside a number of different third-party candidates.

The system permits voters to rank candidates in order of choice on the poll, in the event that they select to achieve this. Voters can choose a primary selection, second selection, third selection, fourth selection, and many others. They aren’t, nevertheless, required to rank candidates by choice, and will choose as an alternative to solely choose a single candidate, who can be their first and solely selection.

If one of the 4 Senate candidates receives a majority of the vote — or 50% plus one — on Election Evening that candidate will win the race outright with out ranked-choice tabulation taking impact.

However, if that doesn’t occur, then the lowest-ranked candidate of the 4 can be eradicated. If that candidate’s supporters ranked different preferences, their votes will then be assigned to their second-ranked selection. That course of will repeat till solely two candidates stay with the winner decided in the remaining spherical.

Polls have proven a particularly tight race between Collins and Gideon, doubtlessly rising the probability that vote counting finally ends up transferring into a number of tabulation rounds. If that happens, it might give a bonus to Gideon. That is as a result of Lisa Savage, a progressive impartial candidate who can also be operating in the race, has inspired supporters to rank Gideon second.

The shut race comes with management of the Senate at stake in Tuesday’s elections as Democrats nationwide try to win again the majority in the higher chamber. Democrats have made Maine one of their high targets in the battle for the Senate and Collins is making an attempt to defend her seat in a state that Hillary Clinton received in the 2016 presidential election.

The Maine race is not the solely Senate election the place the end result might not be identified on election evening: A pair of Georgia Senate races could find yourself in January runoffs, a situation which may imply it is not clear for weeks which celebration will subsequent management the Senate.

When ranked-choice voting tabulation rounds are initiated, couriers are despatched round the state to both gather precise ballots or reminiscence gadgets and produce them to a safe location at the State Capitol in Augusta. There, excessive velocity tabulators course of the ballots, and reminiscence gadgets are uploaded. A safe pc is then used to decide the outcomes by making use of the ranked-choice voting guidelines.

That course of can take between one-and-a-half to two weeks to full, so if no candidate wins outright with a majority on November 3, it won’t be clear on Election Evening who received the intently watched Senate race. That end result that could inject uncertainty into the combat for management of the Senate.

Democrats have made Maine one of their high targets in the 2020 combat to win a Senate majority and Collins is making an attempt to defend her seat in a state that Hillary Clinton received in the 2016 presidential election.

The high-stakes penalties of ranked-choice voting have been on show in Maine in the previous election cycle.

In 2018, Democrat Jared Golden defeated Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District Home race — flipping the seat after the state calculated its ranked-choice voting outcomes.

The consequence marked the first time in the nation’s historical past a federal race had been determined by ranked-choice voting.

MeSlop’s Lauren Dezenski and Eric Bradner contributed to this report.