POLITICS

Maine Gov. Paul LePage Certifies Election Result But Still Complains It Was 'Stolen'

In signing off on Democrat Jared Golden's victory, Maine's outgoing Republican governor took one last dig at the state's ranked-choice voting system.

Outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) finally certified the victory of Rep.-elect Jared Golden (D) in the state’s 2nd Congressional District on Friday, nearly two months after the Nov. 6 election — but not without taking one last dig at the state’s new ranked-choice voting process, which he and other state Republicans have long refused to accept.

LePage tweeted that he authorized the results because Golden’s Republican opponent, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, dropped his legal challenge earlier this week.

In the photo of his certification, the governor appears to have written “stolen election” next to his signature, referring to his complaints about ranked-choice voting.

“Ranked Choice Voting didn’t result in a true majority as promised ― simply a plurality measured differently,” Le Page tweeted Friday.

His office did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for further comment or clarification on Friday.

Golden narrowly defeated Poliquin in November, flipping a traditionally Republican and rural district in the first general election after the state’s voters passed a ballot measure to enact ranked-choice voting.

... allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one. If no candidate wins an outright majority, the candidate with the least first-place votes is eliminated and his or her second-place votes are distributed to the remaining candidates. The process continues until one candidate gets a majority of the vote.

Advocates for the system say it encourages civility and coalition-building in campaigns and prevents candidates from crowding each other out and getting elected with less than a majority. The system is particularly appealing in Maine, as Gov. Paul LePage (R) was elected in 2010 with 38.2 percent of the vote and re-elected in 2014 with 48.6 percent.

Republicans in Maine had waged a lengthy legal battle to override voters’ decision and delay the implementation of ranked-choice voting. The June ballot measure was the second time voters had approved the system. They first voted for it in 2016.

Earlier this month, a federal judge rejected Poliquin’s lawsuit attempting to challenge the election result and request a new election, ruling that the ranked-choice system was constitutional.

In response to LePage’s certification Friday, Golden tweeted that the governor’s comments were “wrong” and “yet another attempt by the Maine GOP to undermine the will of Mainers.”

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