Poliquin is using a lawsuit to fight for his congressional seat, which he won by popular vote but lost to State Rep. Jared Golden on Thursday through ranked-choice voting.
U.S. District Judge Lance Walker agreed Friday to schedule an expedited hearing for Dec. 5 on Poliquin's motion for a preliminary injunction to declare ranked-choice voting unconstitutional, which would make him the winner.
“One federal court has said that the phrase 'chosen by the people' means the winner in a plurality vote,” said Lee Goodman, a Washington D.C.-based attorney representing Poliquin.
On Thursday, Walker denied Poliquin's request to stop the ranked-choice vote counting. Later in the day, Golden was declared the top ranked-choice vote-getter, beating Poliquin by around 3,000 votes.
“Look, the process is what it is right now,” Golden said, shortly after learning the vote tally. “I think we'll hear more from the judge and the court going forward on the timeline, but I think we saw a very strong statement today. It does not look like the judge is likely to believe there are constitutional grounds for the case to really proceeds.”
Poliquin sued Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who said he is just following Maine's current election laws.
“Litigation helps us chart a path forward,” Dunlap said on Tuesday, the day the lawsuit was filed. “And when we prevail in litigation I feel relief that we've made the right decisions. When a judge gives us different instruction, it gives us an affirmative, bold path forward.”
After talking to voters, he added that “people like it. I think the ship has left the dock on ranked choice voting. This is the way we're going to be administrating elections for a while.”
Walker is expected to make his decision before Dec. 14, which is the deadline for when the governor must provide election results to the U.S. House of representatives.
The 116th U.S. Congress will be seated on Jan. 3.