BANGOR – A federal judge in Bangor heard arguments about whether ranked-choice voting is constitutional during a Wednesday hearing to stop the congressional ranked choice run-off happening in Augusta.
While vote counters tally the last 69 communities in the ranked choice run-off for the 2nd Congressional District, lawyers representing Republican incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin argued before a federal judge for a temporary restraining order to stop the process.
U.S. District Judge Lance Walker heard arguments from Poliquin’s attorney and four others before he announced he would probably make his decision Thursday, giving Secretary of State Matt Dunlap time to continue counting.
“Some voters said they relied on ranked-choice voting to vote strategically,” said Lee Goodman, a Washington D.C.-based attorney representing Poliquin. “It is our position that that extra voting power, that those voters took advantage of, is actually an unconstitutional dimension of the ranked-choice voting law.”
The League of Women Voters has a different opinion.
“The constitutional arguments that were just discussed inside the courtroom seemed to be very thin,” said John Brautigam, an attorney for the league. “There is not a lot of case law underlining any of those arguments and we’re really confident with the case the Secretary of State put out there today. We look for a quick ruling and think that it will all be upheld.
Dunlap said Tuesday that he’s just following the rules.
“The law under Title 21A, which contains the amendments around Ranked-Choice Voting, and nothing in there says we should not keep going so we’re going to keep going,” Dunlap said.
Lawyers for Poliquin’s Democratic opponent, State Rep. Jared Golden, support ranked-choice.
“We’re hoping that they will count all the votes and run the election as the people decided they wanted it to be run,” said Peter Brann, an attorney representing Golden.
“We remain confident that without a doubt that Ranked-Choice Voting in Maine is the constitutional method of elections selected by the people of Maine repeatedly,” said James Monteleone, an attorney representing the Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting and 2nd Congressional candidate Tiffany Bond.