A month after Election Day, a recount begins in Maine
A full month after Election Day and three weeks after Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner of New England’s most competitive House race, officials began recounting ballots Thursday in August in what many consider to be a last-ditch effort by the incumbent.
Maine’s Second Congressional District race was the first ever to be decided by ranked choice voting. While Representative Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, was found to have more votes than Golden on Election Day, he did not surpass the 50 percent threshold to win outright under the new system.
A week after the election, the Secretary of State’s office counted the ballots and determined that, after “round two” of ballot counting, Golden was the winner after he picked up enough votes from two of the independent candidates in the race.
Poliquin, so far, has taken a two-pronged strategy to appeal those results.
First is a federal lawsuit suggesting that ranked choice voting violates the United States constitution. This lawsuit is being considered by the same Trump-appointed judge who ruled against Poliquin’s request for a temporary restraining order on counting ranked choice voting for largely the same constitutional reasons.
Second, Poliquin, who has served two terms, has asked for a hand recount. Golden’s margin was large enough that, under state rules, Poliquin — not the state — will pay for it. The counting began on Thursday and is expected to take about a week.
Meanwhile, Golden has already been in Washington and is preparing to be sworn in next month.