Rep. Bruce Poliquin is struggling to accept his loss in Maine’s — as well as the United States’ — first ever congressional election using ranked-choice voting, and now the Republican wants a do-over.
Poliquin’s request, made in a motion filed late Tuesday in federal court in Bangor, is the latest move in his ongoing legal battle to challenge the results of the election, in which Democrat Jared Golden defeated Poliquin in the nation’s first-ever congressional election using ranked-choice voting.
Tuesday’s action amends a lawsuit filed this month challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting.
The Republican representative and his attorneys had initially sought a temporary restraining order to halt the ranked-choice tabulation. That was denied by federal Judge Lance Walker, an appointee of President Trump. In that decision, Walker said he was not persuaded to temporarily stop the ranked-choice count while the legal case plays out. He cited Maine voters’ repeated support for ranked-choice voting in his decision.
Poliquin also attacked the method used to tabulate the votes under the rank-choice system, accusing elections officials of using a secretive algorithm and “black box” to determine the winner.
“This is a very big deal to make sure every vote in Maine is accurately counted,” Poliquin said Tuesday in a news conference at the Portland airport. “And I think it’s time that we have real ballots counted by real people – real ballots counted by real people – instead of this black box that computes who wins and who loses.” Members of Poliquin’s campaign staff also have claimed that Dunlap, a Democrat, deployed “artificial intelligence” to determine a winner.
The Secretary of State’s office was unable to comment due to pending litigation, but ranked-choice advocates disputed that there was shady technology being used by elections officials:
“Maine’s Secretary of State did not use ‘artificial intelligence’ to tabulate the election results, he used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which was invented in 1979,” Kyle Bailey, the ranked-choice voting campaign manager, said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
“While Mr. Poliquin publicly works through the five stages of grief over his election loss, the real story is that the implementation of Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting law was smooth, transparent and in accordance with the will of the Maine voters,” Bailey said. “Mr. Poliquin has a legal right to request a recount, but his extreme rhetoric that questions the integrity of Maine’s free and fair elections is reckless and irresponsible.”