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Rankled In Maine: While Signing Off On Ranked-Voting Result, Gov. Writes “Stolen Election” On Doc

December 29, 2018


In one of his last official acts before leaving office, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, expressed dissatisfaction with the result of the state’s “ranked voting” election by writing on the election’s certifying document, next to his signature, “Stolen Election.”

LePage’s signature certified that Democrat Jared Golden had won the US representative seat in Congressional District 2 over his opponent Bruce Poliquin, the Republican incumbent who held the seat since 2015. But it was Maine’s new “ranked voting” law that rankled the governor.

The law, passed in 2016 and the first of its kind in the nation (for state and federal posts), requires that candidates for office win a majority and not merely a plurality of votes. To avoid run-offs and other problems associated with failure to elect a candidate with a majority vote, the state law allows voters, on the state ballots, to rank the candidates numerically, i.e., first, second, third, etc.

Although Poliquin won a plurality of votes in the November 6 election, Golden was declared the winner after a count of second-place rankings put him in the majority, giving him the ultimate win. Poliquin’s appeals to federal district and appellate courts that the ranked-voting was confusing to voters and therefore unconstitutional were rejected, with his latest appeal failing in a Boston federal court on Friday (Dec. 28).

The election results for CD2 could not be certified while any litigation was pending.

After LePage signed the document and added his commentary, he posted a comment on Twitter:

“I’ve signed off on the CD2 election result as it’s no longer in federal court. Ranked Choice Voting didn’t result in a true majority as promised-simply a plurality measured differently. It didn’t keep big money out of politics & didn’t result in a more civil election #mepolitics

LePage, who has served two consecutive terms, will be succeeded by Governor-elect Janet Mills, a Democrat. Mills will be sworn in on January 2, 2o19, and will become Maine’s first female governor.

LePage was prevented from running for governor a third consecutive time by Maine’s gubernatorial term limits. 



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