The Law Court yesterday issued an interesting decision in the ongoing ranked choice voting litigation that will have a broad application to appeals of final agency actions under M.R. Civ. P. 80C. The decision clarifies when an automatic stay of a Superior Court judgment enters in a Rule 80C action. The answer, somewhat counterintuitively, is that a judgment reversing an agency action is automatically stayed even though a judgment affirming an agency action is not.
In Jones v. Secretary of State, petitioners appealed the determination of the Secretary of State that there were insufficient signatures to place a people’s veto of a law implementing ranked choice voting for presidential primaries and elections onto the November ballot. Petitioners won in the Superior Court, with the court issuing an order reversing the Secretary of State’s determination. Given pressing deadlines for preparing the ballot, the question then became whether the decision was automatically stayed under Rule 62(e) – leaving the