Maine

Articles about voting issues in Maine.

Maine: Rep. Poliquin to appeal ruling upholding his loss in ranked-choice election | Portland Press Herald

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. Read More

Maine: Poliquin ends recount but may still appeal court decision upholding ranked-choice voting | Portland Press Herald

Rep. Bruce Poliquin on Friday ended the hand recount of ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race, but might still appeal a federal judge’s ruling on his constitutional challenge of ranked-choice voting. In a statement, Poliquin pointed out that he captured the most votes on Election Day – a fact that has never been in question – but said he is ending the recount. With more than 50 percent of the recount complete, Poliquin had yet to pick up a substantial number of votes in the ranked-choice runoff that would allow him to surpass Democratic Rep.-elect Jared Golden. Poliquin, a two-term Republican, trails Golden by more than 3,500 votes following the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting to decide a congressional election. Read More

Maine: Recount Is a Low-Drama Affair — Unlike the Election | Roll Call

Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together. For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. “We’re like Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner,” Tardy joked. “You gotta have each other.” Grant, a Democrat, and Tardy, a Republican, have handled most of the state House and Senate recounts in the Pine Tree State for the past decade. GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount of the 2nd District after losing to Democrat Jared Golden last month under the new ranked-choice voting system.  The mechanics of this recount are slightly different, but the intimacy of the process — with opposing campaigns examining paper ballots side by side — is similar to what happens across the country when the counting, for one reason or another, must begin anew.  Read More

Maine: Judge rules out new election for Poliquin in decision upholding Maine’s ranked-choice voting | Portland Press Herald

A federal judge on Thursday rejected Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s constitutional claims against ranked-choice voting and denied the incumbent’s request for a new election against Democratic Rep.-elect Jared Golden. U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker ruled that, contrary to the arguments of Poliquin’s legal team, the U.S. Constitution does not require that whichever congressional candidate receives the most votes – or “a plurality” – be declared the winner. Instead, Walker ruled the Constitution grants states broad discretion to run elections and that “there is nothing inherently improper about an election that requires a contestant to achieve victory by a majority,” including by the use of the ranked-choice runoff system endorsed twice by Maine voters. “To the extent that the Plaintiffs call into question the wisdom of using RCV, they are free to do so but . . . such criticism falls short of constitutional impropriety,” Walker wrote. “A majority of Maine voters have rejected that criticism and Article I (of the U.S. Constitution) does not empower this Court to second guess the considered judgment of the polity on the basis of the tautological observation that RCV may suffer from problems, as all voting systems do.” Read More

Maine: With 2nd District recount set to start, judge says he’ll rule soon on ranked-choice challenge | Portland Press Herald

A federal judge is expected to decide within the next few days whether Maine’s first-in-the-nation ranked-choice election for Congress will stand.  Attorneys for Rep. Bruce Poliquin and the Maine Attorney General’s Office argued in federal court Wednesday over the constitutionality of Maine’s voting law and the election process that propelled Jared Golden, a Democrat, to a victory over the two-term Republican incumbent Poliquin in the race to represent state’s more northern and rural 2nd U.S. Congressional District. Poliquin’s lawyers are asking U.S. District Judge Lance Walker to rule that the law, passed by voters in November 2016 and affirmed with a citizens’ veto vote in June, violates the U.S. Constitution. They are arguing that Poliquin should either be declared the winner based on the fact he won the plurality of votes in the first round of counting or that there should be a special election, or runoff, between Golden and Poliquin. Read More

Maine: Long recount could leave Maine’s 2nd District seat vacant when Congress begins new term | Central Maine

The recount that began Thursday in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race could leave the seat vacant and the district without representation when Congress convenes in January. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and a Republican House staff member involved in the seating decision issued conflicting opinions on the matter Thursday, making it uncertain whether Maine will have a 2nd District representative if the recount isn’t completed before new members of Congress are sworn in Jan. 3. Workers from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office gathered in a converted conference room Thursday and started the arduous task of hand-counting the 300,000 ballots cast in the election, which saw Democratic challenger Jared Golden beat incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin by about 3,500 votes. Poliquin asked for the recount on Nov. 26 after Golden was declared the winner. Poliquin also has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the ranked-choice voting system. Read More

Maine: Poliquin’s election challenge faces long odds | Portland Press Herald

Lawyers for Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and the Democrat who defeated him will square off in federal court Wednesday in a case with ramifications far beyond Maine’s rural, sprawling 2nd District no matter the outcome. For U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Golden and supporters of ranked-choice voting, the election ended two weeks ago after the Democrat emerged from an instant runoff leading Poliquin by 3,509 votes. Yet Poliquin and his team are aiming for more than just a reversal of the election results as they push to make Maine the national, legal test case for ranked-choice voting in any federal election. “Whether a state can go beyond a plurality that is currently provided for in (the Constitution) is an open question the Supreme Court has never decided,” Lee Goodman, Poliquin’s attorney and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said last month. Read More

Maine: Ballot recount in 2nd Congressional District race starts Thursday | Portland Press Herald

The lengthy town-by-town recount of nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race will begin Thursday morning, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount after a tabulation of the ballots using Maine’s ranked-choice voting system showed him trailing Democrat Jared Golden by 3,509 votes. Poliquin is also challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting in court. The recount is expected to take as long as four weeks as teams from the two campaigns hand-count each ballot in every municipality, setting aside any disputed ballots. The process is repeated for each round of ranked-choice voting as the teams tabulate the second- and third-choice preferences of voters whose candidates were eliminated from contention. Read More

Maine: Poliquin’s election challenge faces long odds | Kennebec Journal

Lawyers for Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and the Democrat who defeated him will square off in federal court Wednesday in a case with ramifications far beyond Maine’s rural, sprawling 2nd District no matter the outcome. For U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Golden and supporters of ranked-choice voting, the election ended two weeks ago after the Democrat emerged from an instant runoff leading Poliquin by 3,509 votes. Yet Poliquin and his team are aiming for more than just a reversal of the election results as they push to make Maine the national, legal test case for ranked-choice voting in any federal election. “Whether a state can go beyond a plurality that is currently provided for in (the Constitution) is an open question the Supreme Court has never decided,” Lee Goodman, Poliquin’s attorney and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said last month. Read More

Maine: Poliquin seeks new election if outcome is not overturned | Associated Press

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is asking a federal judge to order a new election if he declines to invalidate Maine’s new voting system and declare Poliquin the winner. Judge Lance Walker declined to stop the ballot-counting process in which Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner in the nation’s first ranked-balloting in a congressional election. But Poliquin’s lawsuit is still alive. Poliquin wants the Trump-appointed judge to declare the system unconstitutional. Poliquin’s request for the judge to either declare him the winner or order a second election was made late Tuesday, a day after Poliquin formally requested a recount that’s expected to take a month. The updated filing provides a new remedy for the judge, who expressed concern about the fairness of changing the election outcome after voters cast their ballots a certain way relying on the new voting system, said Dmitry Bam, a specialist in constitutional law at the University of Maine Law School. But Poliquin still faces an uphill battle because the judge appears to be unmoved by the constitutional arguments and because time is running out. “Any judge would be very hesitant to undo an election,” he said. Read More