Rep. Bruce Poliquin is appealing a recent federal judge’s rejection of his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting. Poliquin and three other residents of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District filed a notice of appeal Monday, four days after a U.S. District Court judge dismissed his constitutional arguments and refused to order a new election. Attorneys for Poliquin said they plan to file a brief Tuesday with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The two-term Republican lost the 2nd District election to Democratic Rep.-elect Jared Golden in the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting to decide a congressional race. Poliquin trails Golden by more than 3,500 votes and has sought to overturn an election process that his campaign claims was confusing for many voters and potentially violated the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected those arguments in a strongly worded 30-page opinion. Walker ruled that the framers of the U.S. Constitution granted states broad discretion to operate their own elections and that “there is nothing inherently improper about an election that requires a contestant to achieve victory by a majority.”
“Maine’s RCV Act reflects the view of a majority of the voting public in Maine that their interests may be better represented by the candidate who achieves the greatest support among those who cast votes, than by the candidate who is first ‘past the post’ in a plurality election dominated by two major parties,” Walker wrote.