Congressman Bruce Poliquin and three of his supporters are seeking an emergency injunction from the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to prevent the Maine Secretary of State from certifying a winner in the November election that he lost. The motion comes after a federal judge smacked down Poliquin’s legal challenge to Maine’s ranked-choice voting system (RCV) last week. In a statement, the defeated Republican Congressman said he still has legal questions about the “complicated and confusing rank process.”

“Rank voting came to Maine due to a largely out-of-state funded push to change our election system which has worked well for more than one hundred years,” said Poliquin in a statement. “Maine’s 2nd District voters twice rejected this confusing change.… There is nothing more sacred than our one-person, one-vote Constitutional right.”

Poliquin’s attorney, Lee Goodman, asked the court to handle the appeal on an expedited basis, citing the controversial 2000 Supreme Court Bush v. Gore decision that halted a Florida ballot recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush. However, it may be too late. Kristen Muszynski, spokesperson for the Maine Secretary of State’s office, says that the election results were completed and posted on the state’s website after Poliquin called off a recount last week.

“Since the recount was terminated, the results certified on November 26 are the final tally,” said Muszynski. “The certificate of election is a separate issue and we can’t comment on that with the litigation pending.”

When asked by the Lewiston Sun Journal if he had already certified the election results, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap didn’t mince words. “Ayuh,” he said. “We snapped that round so fast you’d a thought it was a scalded dog jumpin’ out of a burnin’ box.”

However, Gov. Paul LePage is refusing to certify the results so it appears it won’t be official until Janet Mills takes office on Jan. 2. Nevertheless, Poliquin will also probably have an uphill legal battle, as Judge Lance Walker, a Trump nominee, thoroughly rejected his challenge to the RCV system last week. Poliquin’s attorneys had called Dr. James Gimpel, a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, as an expert witness to argue that RCV is “flat out unfair to the uninformed voter” because a voter may not have enough information to make an informed decision to pick second or third choices on the ballot. Gimpel also pointed out that thousands of voters cast votes that were invalid and several voters choosing independents for their first choices didn’t pick second and third choices, which he guessed was because they didn’t know how to vote properly.

“On cross-examination, Dr. Gimpel testified that he did not interview or consider any interviews or studies of actual Maine voters,” Walker noted, “but that, remarkably, he would like to develop a survey to evaluate what voters were thinking.”

Poliquin’s attorneys also interpreted Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the legislative branch of government, as meaning that elections should be determined by a plurality and not a majority, as RCV requires. But Judge Walker pointed out that there is nothing in the actual text to support that argument and that other states have long used the majority standard for run-off elections without coming under constitutional scrutiny.

“Article I is perfectly silent as to a prescribed method by which the States must elect their representatives,” wrote Walker. “Plaintiffs urge that I must fill this void because section 2, as they put it, ‘must mean something.’ This position is premised on the dubious notion that the framers could not have intended to reserve for the States so much freedom as to choose how they elect their representatives to the Congress.” Walker added that the argument belies the historical record leading up to the adoption of the Constitution.

Walker also shot down Polquin’s argument that RCV violates the “one person, one vote” standard and dismissed Poliquin’s contention that a significant segment of the voting public doesn’t understand the system well enough to cast a meaningful vote. “Similar arguments were once advanced by those who sought to deny the vote to women and minorities,” Walker observed in his ruling.

Poliquin is also trying to sow doubt in the election system by holding up the affidavits of 17 voters in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor who swear they voted for him despite living in a different district. “It’s very concerning to read sworn affidavits from voters claiming to have received ballots for the wrong Congressional District, as well as expressions of this confusion on town government social media sites,” said Poliquin in a separate statement last week.

However, the town clerks of both Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor told The Free Press that Poliquin was not on the ballot in either of their towns.

“I compared ballots originally with our sample ballot and didn’t see anything at that time,” wrote Boothbay Harbor Town Clerk Michelle Farnham in an email. “I did have a few people ask us why they [District 2 candidates] were not on the ballot, and we had to explain to them it wasn’t our district. Needless to say there has been a lot of talk around town regarding people who say they are sure they voted for them [District 2 candidates] in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor.”

In a letter to the two clerks, Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn wrote that the tabulator memory sticks that were provided to each municipality were programmed to only accept the ballots for that municipality. Therefore, even if a printing contractor mistakenly delivered a few of the wrong ballots from a different Congressional district, the tabulator wouldn’t accept it and there would be an error message.

“Since you had no auxiliary ballots that voters could not insert into the machine, then it is impossible that your voters had a ballot with the wrong district on it,” wrote Flynn. “I don’t know what else to say that will satisfy voters’ fears, except that this office does the programming (not the vendor or a 3rd party), and every ballot style and memory stick was tested by us before sending it to you, and hopefully tested by you as well.”

Meanwhile, Congressman-elect Jared Golden said he looks forward to taking his seat in the 116th Congress on January 3.

“Judge Walker’s decision is clear. It is now my hope that Congressman Bruce Poliquin will work with my team to facilitate a smooth transition of power for the people of the 2nd Congressional District,” said Golden in a statement. “I am eager to get to work on important issues facing the 116th Congress, like addressing anti-corruption and campaign finance reform, lowering prescription drug and health care costs, and protecting Social Security and Medicare.”