As the secretary of state’s office continues to count votes from across the sprawling 2nd District, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin on Saturday raised questions about the process.

Poliquin, the Republican who has represented the district since 2014, said in a Facebook post that there “have been ongoing concerns” about the process. 

His campaign said late Saturday it has concerns “over some of the ballots and ballot boxes that arrived in Augusta, including some with missing locks.”

“There is also a report of a clerk at the Bangor polling station who was tabulating absentee ballots on her own and without any election monitoring, which is illegal,” the campaign said in the statement. “These are certainly concerning.”

Poliquin appears to have a narrow lead in first-round voting in the new ranked-choice election, but exit polls and other data point to a possible victory by Democrat Jared Golden once the second and third choices of the two independent candidates are taken into account.

Golden’s campaign has kept mum during the vote count beyond saying that they are monitoring the counting in Augusta.

The secretary of state’s office said Saturday that it ended the day with the need to scan ballots from 190 small towns as it continues to certify the votes cast.

“We’ll be back at it on Monday,” the office said on its Twitter feed. A winner is likely to be announced early in the week, officials have said.

On Facebook, Poliquin said that it is “clear that Bruce won Election Day by a margin of over 2,000 votes, defeating all three other opponents,” including independents Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar.

“In any other federal election across America, this process would be complete,” Poliquin said

Maine, which switched to ranked choice for federal offices this year, “is the only state subject to” the new system after voters twice approved ballot questions to make the change, he wrote.

In his post, Poliquin said the new system “allows people multiple votes, via the reallocation of their vote, if they didn’t initially select one of the two top vote earners.”

That’s not quite right.

In reality, every voter has the chance to rank all of the candidates from first to last. In each round, every voter’s vote counts.

After the first round, though, candidates who have no chance of winning are dropped from contention and their ballots redistributed to the remaining contenders. In this case, that means the ballots for Bond and Hoar are tallied for either Poliquin or Golden, depending on which of the two they selected as their top pick.

Poliquin’s concerns may be an indication that he is considering a possible lawsuit to challenge the outcome if Golden is declared the winner.

Courts have proven unsympathetic to similar appeals across the country, but it’s a new issue in Maine and it would be the first election for Congress ever decided in an instant runoff election of this type.

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Officials with the Maine secretary of state’s office were loading in the last of the tabulator results from Aroostook County while continuing to scan paper ballots in Augusta on Saturday. (Secretary of State’s Office photo)

Officials with the Maine secretary of state’s office were loading in the last of the tabulator results from Aroostook County while continuing to scan paper ballots in Augusta Saturday. (Secretary of State’s Office photo)


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