Judge declines to halt counting in Maine's new voting system

Judge declines to halt counting in Maine's new voting system
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)

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A federal judge has declined to halt tabulations under Maine’s new voting system, putting the state on the path to declaring a winner in the second of its two U.S. House races.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is challenging the constitutionality of Maine’s ranked-choice voting system used for the first time in congressional races in Maine.

Judge Lance Walker declined Thursday to stop the process.

Final tabulations are expected around Thursday afternoon in the race between Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden.

Poliquin, who had an edge in first-round votes, said he has a duty to challenge the new voting system on constitutional grounds. Voters approved it in 2016.

The lawsuit remains alive because Walker didn’t rule Thursday on the constitutionality of the system.