ELLSWORTH — With little hope for victory in his legal battle against ranked choice voting, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R- Maine) announced on Christmas Eve that he’s dropped his challenge.
Poliquin, still decrying the “rank voting black box computer algorithm,” maintained his believe that ranked choice voting was unconstitutional. But in a statement released to Twitter, Poliquin stated that “I believe it’s in the best interest of my constituents and all Maine citizens to close this confusing and unfair chapter of voting history by ending any further legal proceedings.”
The surrender came after nearly every legal avenue to reverse the results of November election for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District had been rebuffed. Last Friday, Poliquin’s appeal for an injunction to stop certification of the election’s results was denied by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The court didn’t mince words — a one-sentence order from the three judges ruled that Poliquin’s request did not “have a strong likelihood of success on the merits and is denied.”
That rejection came three days after Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap sent a letter to Karen L. Hass, the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, finalizing the results of the election. Certification is required in order to seat a representative in Congress.
Governor Paul LePage had previously refused to do so, citing Poliquin’s ongoing litigation. The decision of the appeals court and Poliquin’s own decision rendered that objection moot.
The Secretary of State’s Office also last week released the total cost for the week-long recount requested by Poliquin — $14,560.52. Because the recount did not change the results of the election, the bill is Poliquin’s responsibility. The costs included almost $2,500 to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as roughly $12,000 in pay to the Maine State Police officers who physically retrieved around 296,000 ballots from across the district.
Poliquin was in the appeals court after an earlier lawsuit was dismissed. That suit challenged the constitutionality of ranked choice voting and requested a new election. U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected that suit on Dec. 13.
With Poliquin’s decision, Democratic Rep.-elect Jared Golden will be sworn in to Congress on Jan. 3.