Judge denies Poliquin’s challenge to ranked choice voting run-off

ELLSWORTH — A federal judge this morning rejected U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s lawsuit seeking to halt the ranked-choice run-off process that would designate the winner of the 2nd District congressional race.

The results should be announced shortly after noon Thursday.

No District 2 congressional candidate received a more than 50 percent majority of first-choice votes on Nov. 6, triggering the ranked choice voting tabulation process in which the candidate(s) with the least support are eliminated. According to ranked choice voting procedures, those ballots were to be redistributed to voters’ second-choice candidate.

For the past week, election officials have been scanning ballots cast in the extraordinarily tight Nov. 6 election to determine if Poliquin or Democratic challenger Jared Golden prevailed.

Poliquin and three other plaintiffs asked Judge Lance Walker to declare the ranked-choice process unconstitutional so that Poliquin, who held a slim lead, could be declared the winner. They also asked for Walker to halt the tabulations.

Walker denied the request. But future legal challenges are still possible.

The League of Women Voters of Maine responded to the federal court decision to deny a request to temporarily halt the ranked choice voting count.

“The court’s refusal to halt ranked choice voting proceedings is a win for all voters, who have twice chosen this system. We remain committed to fighting to protect the will of Maine voters and their desire for a fairer, more representative democracy,” said Jill Ward, president of the League of Women Voters of Maine.

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