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Maine GOP cries foul over handling of congressional ballots

November 12, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The state’s top election official argued Monday that claims raised by Republicans about potential ballot tampering is meant to fuel distrust as a new way of voting is underway in the 2nd Congressional District race.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and the Maine GOP have photos showing ballot boxes with missing padlocks. GOP spokesman Jason Savage raised the specter of ballot tampering.

Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap acknowledged Monday some boxes were unlocked but said all ballot boxes were protected by metallic seals.

Dunlap said he hasn’t received any official complaints and called the GOP’s claims a “distraction” aimed at stowing distrust among voters.

“I’m not going to go chase every stick that somebody throws,” he said.

Poliquin’s attorney, Josh Tardy, declined comment when asked whether Poliquin’s campaign had lodged a complaint with Dunlap’s office.

Poliquin’s campaign contends the race should be over because he collected the most first-round votes Election Day.

But neither he nor Democrat Jared Golden obtained a majority in the four-way race. That triggers additional voting rounds under the ranked-choice system that’s being used for the first time in federal races in Maine.

Under the system, if there’s no majority, the last-place candidate’s second-place votes are reallocated to remaining candidates. The computerized process can be repeated until there’s a winner.

Election officials said Monday morning they still had to upload ballots in 190 towns and certify all the results. Election officials had finished fewer than a dozen more towns by mid-day Monday.

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