Maine Congressional Recount to Go Until After New Congress is Sworn In

AUGUSTA, MAINE – Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office announced Monday that the recount in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District will begin on Thursday, December 6, and will take approximately 4 weeks.

US Rep. Bruce Poliquin is contesting his election defeat to Democratic challenger, Democrat Jared Golden. Golden won in the second round of ranked choice tabulation, with over 50% of the vote.

Here’s the thing: The recount will pause on Christmas week from December 24 to January 2, and will begin again on January 3 if it is not completed sooner. Members of Congress are sworn in on January 3.

In other words, voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District won’t know who will end up representing them until after the new session begins.

This has caused a great deal of confusion over what happens if the recount extends past January 3? Will the seat be empty? Will the district be unrepresented until the recount is settled?

As I understand it, Golden, who is considered the representative-elect, is still scheduled to be sworn in on January 3. He has already been through orientation and introductory activities, including the selection of his office.

A federal judge will hear a lawsuit brought by Poliquin Wednesday, who is challenging the constitutionality of ranked choice voting. Poliquin also filed an amended motion in court last week requesting a new election if the the election certification was not halted.

Based on the judge’s previous rejection of a temporary restraining order request to stop the ranked choice tabulation, it seems unlikely the judge will order a whole new election.

It’s also worth noting that ranked choice voting has been challenged on constitutional grounds in federal court, and the voting method has been upheld a number of times.

Stay tuned for further developments on this story.

Photo Source: AP