"Go Home, Bruce": Voters Respond to Defeated Congressman's Appeal Against Ranked Choice Voting
Update 12/20/18: Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap certified the results for Maine's 2nd Congressional District and sent the results to Congress. US Rep.-elect Jared Golden will be sworn in on January 3.
US Rep. Bruce Poliquin announced Monday his intent to file an appeal brief with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in his legal challenge to overturn ranked choice voting. Poliquin lost his seat to Democrat Jared Golden in the first US House race to be decided by ranked choice voting, results that were being confirmed by a hand recount Poliquin stopped last week.
Poliquin makes a number of false and misleading claims in his statement:
- The Maine Supreme Court did not rule ranked choice voting unconstitutional. It gave a non-binding advisory opinion that if RCV was challenged, it could be ruled in conflict with a state constitutional provision that says statewide and legislative general elections can be decided by plurality.
- The Maine Supreme Court upheld ranked choice voting's use in the June primary elections for state, legislative, and US House and Senate races, indicating that the only issue is the plurality provision in the state constitution.
- The plurality provision that exists in the Maine constitution does not exist in the US constitution, so a federal court is not going to come to the same conclusion.
- The campaign to get ranked choice voting on the ballot and approved by voters was managed and run by Mainers, including people with a long history of campaigning in Maine and many state volunteers.
- Ranked choice voting was approved twice by Maine voters, the second time in the June primary when nearly 50,000 more people voted on the ranked choice voting measure than for the governor's races in both parties combined.
Federal Judge Lance Walker rejected Poliquin's constitutional challenges to ranked choice voting and denied the congressman's attempt to have the court declare him the winner of the election.
Read more about the ruling here.
The response to Poliquin's appeal announcement was quick on social media, particularly on Twitter where responses cannot be deleted by Poliquin's team, and many voters just want him to move on:
The election in Maine is over, meaning Poliquin will not be the representative of Maine's 2nd Congressional District when the new Congress is sworn in on January 3. The legal challenge, however, may be far from over, and could end up at the steps of the Supreme Court.
Stay tuned for further developments in this story.