Judge hearing arguments in disputed congressional race

Judge hearing arguments in disputed congressional race
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Augusta, Maine. Poliquin filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in an attempt to stop a tabulation of ranked-choice ballots in his race against Democratic challenger Jared Golden. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A judge is hearing arguments aimed at stopping Maine’s ranked-balloting system, even as votes are being scanned in preparation for declaration of a winner in a congressional race.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three activists sued Tuesday seeking to overturn Maine’s new voting system. Judge Lance Walker is hearing arguments Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The first round of voting on Election Day ended with Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden both collecting about 46 percent of the vote in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

Poliquin held a slim edge and declared himself the “fair and square” winner.

But the ranked-choice system adopted by Maine voters in 2016 requires additional voting rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated and votes reallocated until there is a majority winner.