In the wake of the US Presidential Election and the countless news stories, comment pieces and either angry or jubilant Facebook statuses that followed, there was probably one fact you probably missed.

That is that the state of Maine, the most north-eastern region of the US, has enacted into law a piece of legislation that if expanded makes it much more unlikely to ever have a candidate like Donald Trump, or even Hillary Clinton, ever again.

While most people debated the choice between the two candidates on 8 November – each highly contentious in their own regards – or third-party choices such as Dr Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, Maine voters also had to consider the ballot issue of Question 5.

That is to whether introduce a system of ranked-choice voting – and it passed. So what does it mean?

Instead of the traditional first-past-the-post system where one candidate is chosen from two or more options, voters in Maine can now rank options on personal preference. As was the case before, if one gets a majority of first-choice votes, then they are the winner. If not, that is where it becomes interesting.

In those cases, the second choices of voters whose first choice was the last-place candidate become those voters' first choices. That process is then repeated until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote.

Why is this significant?

Hendrik Hertzberg of the Nation Institute and the New Yorker explains, "ranked-choice voting opens up elections, primary and general alike, to a broader, more diverse range of candidates, ideas, and, yes, parties.

"Because it gives candidates a powerful incentive to be the second (or third or fourth, if the field is big enough) choice of their rivals' first-preference supporters, it discourages incivility in general, and scorched-earth, zero-sum negative campaigning in particular.

"By the same token, it incentivises good manners and a willingness to entertain the possibility of compromise. It guarantees that the ultimate winner will always be someone who's at least acceptable, however grudgingly, to a majority – and it never yields a winner whom the majority simply cannot abide.

"It empowers voters to deliver a more nuanced message and allows candidates – who, if the counting goes to more than one round, will know where the votes that put them over the top came from – to receive one."

Maine will now elect all its legislators, governors and members of congress with this measure, and, unsurprisingly perhaps, they did it after electing a "Trumpish" candidate of their own.

After voters in the left-leaning state were split between two Liberal candidates, Republican Paul LePage was elected in 2010 with 37.6% of the vote.

After he was elected, he famously called drug dealers in his state "guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty, these type of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave".

And when a Democratic legislator objected to his language, LePage left him a voicemail calling him a "son of a b**** socialist c*********".

Now that the US has elected another sharp-tongued politician into office, will it spur the rest of the country to enact the same ranked-choice voting initiatives?