AUGUSTA – The race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District will now be determined by ranked-choice voting. It’s the first time in US history that a congressional race will be decided by that voting method. The elections staff began the process this morning.
Ballot boxes were opened Friday morning as Secretary of State staffers worked to find out who will win the election to be Maine’s congressman in district two.
“The biggest part of this is the logistics of it,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. “The technology is very efficient, very quick, but the logistics are a little bit unpredictable.”
According to the Secretary of State, they started processing ballots from about 375 communities in district two. That involves scanning paper ballots and uploading votes from memory devices from towns using ballot scanners.
“Our stock in trade is not election results, it’s really in voter confidence, that people can believe in the process,” said Dunlap.
Maine first used ranked-choice voting in June when it decided the democratic gubernatorial race. Dunlap says it went smoothly then and hopes for the same this time.
“No matter what happens, if people have a question about the technology and whether or not it can be influenced in some way, you always have the paper ballots, so if someone has a doubt we can always do a recount,” said Dunlap.
After the votes are counted Bruce Poliquin or Jared Golden will have a majority and a seat in congress. There’s no telling when those results will be known.
“It’s hard to project,” said Dunlap. “We’re going to have a much better idea as we move along and we’ll tell people where we are and I think people can figure out for themselves exactly how much longer we have to go.”
For now, ballot inspection will continue until a winner is determined.