The man who lost the first ever election in the US to used ranked-choice voting to decide a statewide race is suing, with an eye toward getting the national Supreme Court to say that this type of voting is unconstitutional, reports the Portland Press-Herald.
Poliquin and his team are aiming for more than just a reversal of the election results as they push to make Maine the national, legal test case for ranked-choice voting in any federal election.
“Whether a state can go beyond a plurality that is currently provided for in (the Constitution) is an open question the Supreme Court has never decided,” Lee Goodman, Poliquin’s attorney and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said last month.
Goodman’s reference to the nation’s highest court signals his team is already looking beyond U.S. District Court in Bangor, where both sides will plead their cases this week. Poliquin, a two-term Republican, is also requesting that the judge order a new election, and has formally asked for a hand recount by the Maine Secretary of State’s Office. Neither effort appears likely to succeed.
The system was used in Maine’s congressional and gubernatorial races this year, a first for the country, after voters twice approved referendums for the system. Only in one of the congressional races did the ranked choices become important: The incumbent won re-election in the 2nd district based on first-place votes but didn’t get a majority; when 2nd-place votes were calibrated, he lost. He’s the guy suing, not surprisingly.
Regardless of that result, the mechanism worked pretty smoothly, from all reports. No mass confusion, no hanging chads.