Federal Judge Denies GOP Congressman's Attempt to Stop Ranked Choice Voting Count

Federal Judge Denies GOP Congressman's Attempt to Stop Ranked Choice Voting Count

Created: 15 November, 2018
Last update: 18 October, 2022

Update: 11/15/18, 1:00 pm ET: US Rep Bruce Poliquin announced on Twitter before the second round tabulation that he would continue his legal challenge against ranked choice voting even if he won. He is asking Judge Walker to rule on the constitutionality of ranked choice voting by December 14.

Update 11/15/18, 12:30 pm ET: After the second round of votes were tabulated, Jared Golden over took US Rep. Bruce Poliquin's marginal lead and has been proclaimed the apparent winner with 50.53% of the vote. This was the first US House race in history to be decided by ranked choice voting.


BANGOR, MAINE - Bad news for US Rep Bruce Poliquin, who posted a video on Facebook Thursday declaring himself the winner of the election in Maine's 2nd Congressional District (though the final ranked choice tabulation wasn't complete). A federal judge has denied his temporary restraining order request to stop the ranked choice tabulation in his district.

"I am not persuaded that the United States Constitution compels the Court to interfere with this most sacred expression of democratic will by enjoining the ballot-counting process and declaring Representative Poliquin the victor," writes Judge Lance E. Walker.

In other words: It is not the court's place to subvert the democratic process or the will of voters because the congressman may not like the results.

Maine voters approved the use of ranked choice voting at the ballot box twice. Its current use has been upheld by the courts already, and ranked choice voting has never been ruled unconstitutional by any federal court on US constitutional grounds.

And here is the thing: Poliquin could still win the election. As of the time of this writing, the second round tabulation results hadn't been revealed.

An exit survey shows Democrat Jared Golden overtaking his lead in the second or third round of ranked choice tabulation, but that is not a guaranteed win for Golden. Poliquin could still get the majority vote. Yet, he is declaring himself the winner of the election based on a choose-one voting method that is no longer the law in Maine.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap's office announced that the results of the second round tabulation will likely come soon after noon ET Thursday. It is important to note that the lawsuit Poliquin filed is still before Judge Walker. Walker has so far only denied Poliquin's request to halt the tabulation count.

Read the judge's full decision:

Photo Source: AP

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About the Author

Shawn M Griffiths

Shawn is the Election Reform Editor for IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas, and joined the IVN team in 2012. He has several years of experience covering the broad scope of political and election reform efforts across the country, and has an extensive knowledge of the movement at large. A native Texan, he now lives in San Diego, California.