GOP lawmaker to appeal judge's ruling upholding Maine's new voting system

Rep. Bruce PoliquinBruce Lee PoliquinBallot measures across US aim to overhaul voting practices Dale Crafts wins Maine GOP primary to face Rep. Jared Golden House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states MORE (R-Maine) is appealing a federal judge's decision to reject his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Maine's ranked-choice voting (RCV) system. 

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Poliquin's attorneys told The Portland (Maine) Press Herald that they're prepared to file an appeal brief on Tuesday with 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

“Rank voting came to Maine due to a largely out-of-state-funded push to change our election system that has worked well for one hundred years,” Poliquin said in a statement in advance of the formal appeal. “There is nothing more fundamental than our one-person, one vote constitutional right."

 

The move from Poliquin came after U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker tossed out a lawsuit last week that challenged the constitutionality of Maine's new voting system. Poliquin's lawsuit also included a request for a new election. 

The lawsuit was filed after he lost to Democratic challenger Jared Golden in a ranked-choice runoff for the 2nd Congressional District last month. A ranked-choice runoff was required in the race because no candidate secured a majority of votes on Election Day.  

Ranked-choice voting requires voters to submit a ballot that ranks candidates in order of preference. A candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote wins. An instant-runoff situation occurs if no candidate reaches that figure.

In this situation, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated and those votes are then reallocated to the voters' second choices. 

Poliquin has claimed that he should be the winner because he had the most votes on the day of the midterm elections, according to The Associated Press.

But Walker, who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE, wrote in his ruling that the Constitution gives states the ability to decide how it will run elections. 

"To the extent that the Plaintiffs call into question the wisdom of using RCV, they are free to do so but for the reasons that I have indicated previously and upon which I elaborate presently, such criticism falls short of constitutional impropriety,” Walker wrote, according to The Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Poliquin, as well as three other residents in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, filed a notice of appeal on Monday, according to The Press Herald. The lawmaker's attorney, Lee Goodman, said in a statement to the newspaper that “Maine voters deserve absolute assurance that their fundamental right to vote is protected and they are voting in a fair system."

Ranked-choice voting is used in Maine for federal races and statewide primaries, according to the Associated Press.