UPDATE:  Lewiston’s Jared Golden wins Maine Congressional District 2 race

AUGUSTA — A federal judge in Bangor said Thursday he won’t stop the count in Maine’s 2nd District congressional race. The winner is expected to be announced shortly after noon.

Federal District Court Judge Lance Walker, in a 16-page ruling issued about 10:30 a.m., said that he is “not persuaded that the United State Constitution compels the Court to interfere with this most sacred expression of democratic will by enjoining the ballot-counting process and declaring Rep. Poliquin the victor.”

 The Secretary of State’s Office said it plans to run the computer tabulation at noon that will tally the votes cast last week for Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Democratic challenger Jared Golden and two independents, Will Hoar and Tiffany Bond.

The two frontrunners, Poliquin and Golden, each got 46 percent of the 280,000 votes cast, with the independents splitting the rest. Poliquin has about a 1,500-vote lead in the preliminary count for the first round.

But with ranked-choice voting, the second and third picks of voters who chose Bond or Hoar first will be redistributed to the two candidates in the lead, a move that may push Golden to victory.

Golden said he doesn’t plan to attend the count. Poliquin could not be reached for comment.

After the results are in, however, Golden said he will hold a press conference in Augusta whether he wins or loses.

Poliquin is challenging the ranked-choice voting system in federal court, arguing that if he wins the first round, he ought to certified as the election’s winner. Golden and the state said the argument is off the mark.

At about 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker announced he would not stop the count or prevent the results of the ranked-choice tabulation from being announced.

Yesterday, Walker listened to arguments for more than two hours on Poliquin’s request to stop the vote or at least not perform the ranked-choice tabulation. Poliquin has also asked the court to find the ranked-choice law passed by Maine voters twice unconstitutional — a process that could take weeks or months to play out.

 

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This story will be updated.

A Secretary of State worker rolls a stack of ballots to flatten them for scanning at 9:33 p.m. Thursday Nov. 15, 2018, as the ranked choice voting tally for Maine Second Congressional District continues in the Elkins Building in Augusta. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)


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