Secretary of State says ranked-choice voting continues despite federal lawsuit by Poliquin

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin is suing the Secretary of State to stop the enforcement of ranked choice-voting in the Second Congressional District race.

Secretary Matt Dunlap says the tabulations will continue for now.

Poliquin is among four people who filed the lawsuit in federal court in Bangor Tuesday morning.

Ranked-choice voting is being used for the first time in a federal election to decide the outcome between Poliquin and Democratic challenger Jared Golden.

Poliquin received the most first-place votes on Election Day and believes he should be declared the winner.

Neither he nor Golden, though, garnered the 50-percent of the vote needed to be deemed the winner under ranked-choice voting.

Poliquin is asking for a preliminary injunction of the retabulation that takes second and third place choices of the two candidates knocked out of race and distributes those choices to the remaining candidates.

He wants a judge to rule on the matter.

The chairman of the Penobscot County Republican Committee, Brett Baber, who's also a lawyer, is a plaintiff, too.

There are also two other plaintiffs- Mary Hartt (a cancer survivor who raises funds for cancer charities and for Alzheimer's research funding.) and Terry Hamm-Morris (U.S. Navy veteran).

The Golden campaign issued the following statement:

"The candidates campaigned, and the people of Maine's 2nd District voted in accordance with the law,” said Jon Breed, Jared Golden’s Campaign Manager. “Any attempt by Bruce Poliquin to change the rules after votes have already been cast is an affront to the law and to the people of Maine. If Rep. Poliquin’s concerns were anything other than in self interest, he should have filed this lawsuit before votes were cast, or when the Maine Republican Party challenged Maine’s election system last year.”

“Bruce Poliquin knew the rules going into this election. The Secretary of State must count every vote according to Maine law until a majority winner is clear.”

TV5 reached out to Dunlap about the lawsuit and he said he will not comment directly on it.