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Ballot error delays outcome for CD-2 race

More than 16,000 ballots are to be recounted from Bangor and Hampden.

MAINE, USA — A last-minute glitch resulted in a delay in ballot tabulations for the second congressional district race between U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, and challenger, former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine.

The Nov. 8 election moved into a round of ranked-choice tabulations after neither candidate could reach a 50 percent majority of votes, since Tiffany Bond, a third-party candidate, took around six percent of the vote.

The late evening error happened right when election officials were going to upload the results from the ranked choice race, a process that took the second choice of voters who picked Tiffany Bond as their first choice.

But now 16,000 ballots will have to be retrieved from Bangor and Hampden and brought to Augusta for the third day of tabulations, according to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

"The memory sticks were not successfully acquired by the system. That means we will have to scan those ballots," Bellows said.

As of Tuesday night, state troopers left Augusta to retrieve the ballot boxes from Bangor and Hampden.

"It is unclear at this moment (how this happened). We will be doing some troubleshooting to identify what happened. It may have been an initial programming error, but we won't know until we do an investigation," Bellows said.

But the ranked-choice tabulation is still expected to go on as normal come Wednesday.

If more voters selected Golden as their first choice, he wins. The same goes for Poliquin.

But Poliquin will need to see the vast bulk of Bond voters select him secondly.

If Golden wins re-election, he is going to represent the same district that voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020. Unless the vast majority of Bond voters have their second choice for Poliquin, the re-election of Golden is the most likely scenario. 

This is because Golden has 48 percent of the votes without any of Bond’s voters putting Golden as their second choice.

But due to a technical glitch, the tabulations are extending into the third day.

Bellows said that more than 15,000 ballots were tabulated on Tuesday, signifying a long day of work ahead for elections workers who now have to count 16,000 votes from Bangor and Hampden.

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