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The Latest: Officials to continue tallying Maine election

November 14, 2018
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FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2018 file photo, ballots are prepared to be tabulated for Maine's Second Congressional District's House election in Augusta, Maine. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three voters sued Tuesday, Nov. 13, over Maine's new voting system, used for the first time in U.S. House and Senate elections. A lawyer for Poliquin's campaign asked the secretary of state to stop the tabulations to allow a judge to rule, but the secretary declined to stop the process.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — The Latest on a legal challenge of Maine’s ranked balloting (all times local):

4 p.m.

Maine election officials say they still have more work to do to declare a winner in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Wednesday that workers are still scanning ballots and rechecking their work in the first use of ranked-choice balloting. He says staff will continue the work Thursday morning.

Maine will have to run ranked-choice voting tabulations to determine whether Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin or Democratic state lawmaker Jared Golden is the winner.

One of Dunlap’s concerns was a perception that workers were racing to beat a judge’s ruling, anticipated Thursday, on whether to stop the process.

Poliquin and three GOP activists are challenging the ranked voting system. Poliquin says he has a duty to challenge the constitutionality of the new system. It was approved by voters in 2016.

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12 p.m.

A federal judge who’s weighing a request to halt tabulations under Maine’s new voting system says he’ll rule on the matter quickly, as soon as Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three GOP activists are challenging the ranked voting system that was used for the first time last week in U.S. House and Senate races in Maine. Judge Lance Walker heard arguments Wednesday in federal court in Bangor.

The system lets voters rank candidates and provides for extra tabulations to ensure a majority winner. State election officials are preparing to run tabulations for a second voting round in the race between Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says counting could be completed by the end of the day Wednesday.

Poliquin said he has a duty to challenge the new system. It was approved by voters in 2016.

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9:20 a.m.

A judge is hearing arguments aimed at stopping Maine’s ranked-balloting system, even as votes are being scanned in preparation for declaration of a winner in a congressional race.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three activists sued Tuesday seeking to overturn Maine’s new voting system. Judge Lance Walker is hearing arguments Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The first round of voting on Election Day ended with Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden both collecting about 46 percent of the vote in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

Poliquin held a slim edge and declared himself the “fair and square” winner.

But the ranked-choice system adopted by Maine voters in 2016 requires additional voting rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated and votes reallocated until there is a majority winner.

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12:10 a.m.

The counting continues in the first U.S. House race to be determined by a ranked balloting system, despite a lawsuit designed to stop it.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin joined the lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Maine’s new voting system. He’s in a tight race with Democratic state Rep. Jared Golden, who has a chance to win the seat based on second-choice ballots.

The secretary of state declined a request to stop the election process without a court order, and has said his office will continue to process ballots.

The first round of voting on Election Day ended with Poliquin and Golden both collecting about 46 percent of the vote in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Poliquin held a slim edge, and declared himself the “fair and square” winner Tuesday.

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