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November 27, 2018

Poliquin requests recount in District 2 election as legal case proceeds

Photo / Mainebiz, from candidate photos
Photo / Mainebiz, from candidate photos
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, right, officially requested on Monday a recount in the ranked-choice election that gave his Democratic challenger Jared Golden the victory. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said the recount process would take about four weeks to complete. Poliquin also is challenging the constitutionality of Maine's first-in-the-nation ranked-choice voting method in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, has officially requested a recount in the Nov. 6 general election in which his election-night lead over Democratic challenger Jared Golden was reversed when ranked choice votes were tallied and put Golden over the 50% threshold to win.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap confirmed Monday that his office had received the recount request from Poliquin in the District 2 race.

"The election results, tabulated on Nov. 15 after five-and-a-half days of processing results from the more than 370 towns in CD2, showed candidate Jared F. Golden as the winner of the representative to U.S. Congress in Congressional District 2 seat, with 139,231 votes to Bruce Poliquin's 136,326 votes in the final round," Dunlap's office stated in the news release. "The official results, upon completion of the final certification process on Monday, Nov. 26, show Golden with 142,440 and Poliquin with 138,931 votes. The official tabulation has been updated to include results from six towns whose results did not upload properly into the election reporting software. The discrepancy was identified as part of the due diligence exercised by the elections staff during the certification process and does not change the outcome of the election."

Dunlap said the recount process is expected to take four weeks to complete and would take place at the tabulation site in the Elkins Building, 19 Elkins Lane, Augusta. Scheduling for the recount has not yet been announced.

In a recount, representatives of each candidate and staff members from the Department of the Secretary of State manually review each ballot to determine the official vote tally. State law requires the Maine State Police to collect the ballots for the recount and keep them in a secure facility until the recount has been completed. The ballots are stored in tamper-proof metal containers and are closed with specially numbered security seals and locks.

"The ballots from all hand-count municipalities in Congressional District 2 have been retained at the secure tabulation site from the initial tabulation effort," Dunlap's office stated. "Additionally, all ballots from Hancock County will be in hand due to a county Judge of Probate recount. Maine State Police will collect the ballots from towns that use tabulators, as those towns were only required to send their memory devices for the ranked-choice voting tabulation."

Poliquin also pursues legal challenge

Bangor Daily News reported that Poliquin also is proceeding with his legal challenge of Maine's first-in-the-nation ranked-choice voting method. In a 25-page complaint that Poliquin filed in U.S. District Court, the two-term Republican alleges that the state's ranked-choice voting system, approved by votes in 2016, violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Because Golden's margin of victory ended up being more than 1,000 votes after the ranked-choice votes were tallied, Dunlap's office stated that Poliquin, under Maine law, must pay the full costs of the recount if the result of the election is unchanged when the recount is completed.

BDN reported that U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker will hear arguments for and against ranked-choice voting on Dec. 5.

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