AUGUSTA, MAINE – It sounds absurd, but it can’t be made up. US Rep. Bruce Poliquin filed a motion in federal court late Tuesday requesting a new election in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District should the court not stop the certification of the election results.
Poliquin lost the first US House race to be decided by ranked choice voting to Democrat Jared Golden. Poliquin is challenging the constitutionality of ranked choice voting in federal court and has requested a recount in his district.
Federal judge Lance Walker denied an initial attempt by Poliquin to stop the ranked choice tabulation after an exit polled showed him eventually losing the election to Golden in the second or third round of tabulation.
“As it stands, the citizens of Maine have rejected the policy arguments plaintiffs advance against RCV,” Walker wrote.
“Maine voters cast their ballots in reliance on the RCV system. For the reasons indicated above, 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.”
The lawsuit still seeks a preliminary injunction to halt the election results from being certified, but with the amended motion Tuesday, also asks the court for a new election should the injunction be denied.
The Maine secretary of state’s office would not comment on the lawsuit, as it has with previous litigation involving the office.
Poliquin made some odd comments about ranked choice voting when announcing his request for a recount. He said the system was secret and that it used “artificial intelligence,” both of which are objectively false statements.
— Bruce Poliquin (@BrucePoliquin) November 26, 2018
The second round of tabulation was streamed live online by a couple of local news organizations AND the secretary of state’s Facebook page, and the secretary of state’s office used Microsoft Excel to organize and tabulate the results. Pretty far from artificial intelligence.
It is worth noting that just like the temporary restraining order to stop the ranked choice tabulation, the drastic request for a new election is not likely to be entertained by the court.
Stay tuned for further developments in this story.