AUGUSTA, MAINE – US Rep. Bruce Poliquin and the Maine Republican Party have raised yet another concerns with the election in Poliquin’s district. Specifically, they report they have spoken to over 15 people in Maine’s 1st Congressional District who say they received ballots for the wrong district.
Not much was made of this issue prior to Poliquin’s lawsuit against ranked choice voting and his request for a recount after he lost the election to Democrat Jared Golden. Poliquin is also asking the federal judge in his case to order a new election if the judge does not declare him the winner.
I reached out to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office for comment on this and whether or not such claims made any consequential impact on the results in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Here is what spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski told me:
“In the towns that use tabulators, (Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor) their memory sticks are programmed and tested to only accept the ballot style for that municipality (including, in these cases, only Congressional District 1). If the printing contractor had mistakenly included a few ballots that are the wrong ballot style for that municipality (occasionally it can happen when ballots are being cut and shrink wrapped), the tabulator would not accept it – it would be incapable of reading it – and would have given an error message on the screen and required the ballot to be returned. In hand count towns, counters would see that the candidates on that ballot are incorrect and they would not count votes in that race either.”
In other words, even if some voters did receive the wrong ballot, it wouldn’t have played a role in the final results in the 2nd Congressional District. This “concerning” development is really much ado about nothing.
The one unfortunate aspect of this is if the ballots were submitted, the voters would not have had a say in the race for their own district.
Poliquin has also raised concerns about a secret “artificial intelligence” system used to decide the election — more claims that just don’t hold up to reality. The secretary of state streamed the second round of ranked choice tabulation live, during which they used Microsoft Excel to tabulate the results.
Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District after the second round of ranked choice tabulation. He surpassed Poliquin’s marginal lead after the first round — after which neither candidate received a majority — and took 50.6% in the second round.
The hand recount in the district began Thursday, and is expected to last 4 weeks. A federal judge heard arguments in Poliquin’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ranked choice voting Wednesday. The judge says he will make a decision in the case soon.