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.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said a standoff with neighboring West African states over his refusal to step aside after losing December’s election will escalate into war if the alliance doesn’t back down from its stance. Speaking in a televised New Year’s address, Jammeh said a vow by the Economic Community of West African States to take “all necessary actions” to enforce the Dec. 2 election results violates a principle of “non-interference” and is “in effect a declaration of war.” He said the stance would disqualify member countries from brokering any mediation between the president and opposition leader Adama Barrow, who was declared the election winner.
The Gambia’s electoral commission building reopened on Thursday as the president said it had been shut for safety reasons rather than because of the country’s disputed presidential vote result. President Yahya Jammeh’s political party has lodged a legal complaint against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) triggered in part by a vote recount in the days following a December 1 election, which ultimately confirmed opponent Adama Barrow’s victory, 22 years after Jammeh took power. The commission buiding was sealed off without warning by security forces on December 13, the same day the complaint to have the result annulled was lodged.
The votes were cast and counted almost three months ago. Winning candidates were sworn in and are now serving in office, but in Mineral County a nagging question has emerged. Were all the votes counted? If not, why? And, if a true count changes the outcome in a race, what next? At the moment there are no good answers, just plenty of troubling questions. Stewart Handte went to bed election night believing he’d just lost his job as Mineral County Sheriff, losing by just 75 votes. His opponent was duly certified by local election officials and now holds the office. But now the question he and others here are asking is: did he really lose? “I just want the truth,” he says. “Regardless if it changes the results the people need to have the complete facts.”