ranked choice voting

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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: 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 recount in Maine’s 2nd District race | Lewiston Sun Journal

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin asked Monday for a recount in the 2nd Congressional District race he lost narrowly to Jared Golden, the Lewiston Democrat. Later in the day, Golden said, “Dragging this process out only hurts the people we were elected to serve.” Golden said in a prepared statement Poliquin is “within his rights to pay for a recount,” but is unlikely to prevail. … “Furthermore, we have become aware that the computer software and ‘black box’ voting system utilized by the secretary of state is secret,” he said. “No one is able to review the software or computer algorithm used by a computer to determine elections. This artificial intelligence is not transparent.” Dunlap scoffed at the secrecy argument. He said Poliquin’s campaign asked about the software used to count the ballots and was told the state had to keep details confidential for security purposes. “You don’t put something like that out there for hackers to use,” Dunlap said. Read More

Maine: Democrat prevails in Maine congressional race that used ranked-choice voting system | The Washington Post

Democratic challenger Jared Golden prevailed Thursday in a Maine congressional contest, defeating a Republican incumbent in the first federal race in the country in which a ranked-choice voting system was used to determine the winner. After Election Day, Golden, a state representative, narrowly trailed Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) in a four-way race in which no candidate received 50 percent of the vote. The result flipped Thursday after the rules of the ranked-choice system were applied. The system allows voters to cast ballots for their candidate but also rank other contenders in order of preference. If no one wins more than 50 percent of the vote outright, those choices are factored in. Read More

Maine: Judge aims to announce fate of ranked-choice voting in Maine’s 2nd District on Thursday | Bangor Daily News

A federal judge said Wednesday he would try to issue an order Thursday on whether counting of ranked-choice votes in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District election would continue or be halted while the constitutionality of the process is decided. Ballot counting by state election officials will likely be finished by Thursday, said Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. That could make a portion of the lawsuit moot, but the judge still could consider and rule on the underlying constitutional issues.   Two-term U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three supporters sued Dunlap on Tuesday to stop the ranked-choice ballot count and declare him the winner in his re-election contest against Democrat Jared Golden. Read More

Maine: Judge, ballot counters racing to election finale in Maine | Associated Press

A federal judge heard arguments Wednesday aimed at stopping Maine’s unusual ranked-balloting system, even as election staffers scanned votes to determine the winner of last week’s congressional race. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three activists sued Tuesday to overturn Maine’s new voting system. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker heard arguments Wednesday about whether to halt the vote-counting process until he has time to rule on the system’s constitutionality. Walker indicated he would rule as soon as Thursday on the request to halt vote-counting. The state’s elections chief also said workers were resuming the counting with an eye toward completing it Thursday. Supporters and opponents of ranked-choice voting were eagerly awaiting both results, and wondering which would come first. Walker’s ruling could have major implications for the future of the voting method, which was approved by Maine voters but has drawn ire from Poliquin and others who believe it is confusing and violates the concept of one person, one vote. Read More