U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Augusta. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

BOSTON — Hoping to block the state from certifying Democrat Jared Golden as the winner of last month’s 2nd District congressional election, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin asked an appeals court Tuesday for an injunction that would hit the brakes on the process.

Poliquin, a two-term Republican who lost the Nov. 6 election to Golden, urged the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston to preserve the status quo rather than allow the state to proceed with a certification process that would lead inevitably to Golden taking office on Jan. 3. He said he’d like an injunction issued by Friday.

But it appears he may be too late.

Kristen Muszynski, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, said Tuesday that when Poliquin called off the recount last week, the outcome reverted to the certified results completed on Nov. 26.

Asked if he had certified the results already, Dunlap said, “Ayuh. We snapped that round so fast you’d a thought it was a scalded dog jumpin’ out of a burnin’ box.”


It isn’t clear whether Gov. Paul LePage has certified the results and sent them on to Capitol Hill clerks.

Poliquin argues that the ranked-choice voting method — which led to Golden’s victory by a 3,500-vote margin — is unconstitutional.

After a federal district court judge in Bangor ruled against him last week in a strongly worded decision upholding ranked-choice voting, Poliquin and three Maine voters opted to seek a review of Judge Lance Walker’s opinion by the 1st Circuit judges.

In his legal brief, Poliquin’s half dozen attorneys argue for an injunction because, they said, the ranked-choice voting system violates the rights of every voter.

Poliquin’s attorney told the appeals court that Walker “sidestepped” the issues they raised, “often casting the questions at a more superficial level of analysis.”

They said that Poliquin’s case “presents the type of serious legal questions that, combined with the requisite balancing of harms and interests, merit an immediate injunction pending appeal.”


The attorneys said that without an injunction, the state “may certify the election results,” a step that they said would permanently deprive Poliquin and a handful of voters who joined him in the case “of the ability to vindicate their constitutional rights to a constitutionally compliant election and election results.”

Poliquin said the state “will experience no injury other than a temporary delay in certification. This is common when election results remain contested.”

Golden said recently, however, that if he can’t take office on Jan. 3 with other newly elected members of the House, his seniority would forever be behind all of the other newcomers, which might someday deprive Maine of having the chance to have him chair a committee or other important post.

The lawyers — from Washington and Bangor — said that if the appeals court ultimately agrees that ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional, it can figure out the appropriate remedy later.

In the election, Poliquin won the first round of voting by more than 2,000 votes, but because he did not receive a majority of the votes, a second round was conducted that redistributed the votes initially cast for independents Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar.

Of the 23,427 votes cast first for Hoar or Bond, 15,174 were transferred to Poliquin or Golden based on the second or third choices of those who first sided with one of the independents.

At that point, Dunlap declared that Golden had emerged as the ultimate victor by about 3,500 votes, the consequence of the Democrat securing more than two-thirds of the ranked choice ballots in play.

This story will be updated.

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