BANGOR (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Testimony was heard Wednesday morning in the lawsuit filed by Congressman Bruce Poliquin over the constitionality of ranked-choice voting.
He's suing Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, whose office is preparing an official ballot recount for the second congressional district race, still using ranked-choice, which is set to begin Thursday.
It's a lawsuit over a race that has already been won.
"These are very complicated issues," said Lee Goodman, a lawyer for Poliquin. "Both sides got a very fair hearing [Wednesday.] The court is very engaged in both arguments on both sides of these very weighty and profound issues that affect the voters of Maine."
In a federal court hearing in Bangor Wednesday, Goodman argued the ranked-choice outcome of the second congressional district race between Poliquin and democrat Jared Golden is unconstitutional, and undermines voters rights.
On Election Day, Poliquin got the most votes, but those were first choice votes.
When ranked-choice votes were tabulated, he lost the election to Golden by more than 3,000 votes.
His lawyers are arguing more than 8,000 voters didn't understand how they were voting.
"They were disenfranchised from the election," added Goodman.
"Ranked-choice voting expects a lot out of voters," said Dr. James Gimpel, a professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Poliquin's lawyers used Dr. Gimpel's testimony to try to prove their case.
"It expects [voters] to anticipate who will still be standing when we get to the second round or to the third round," added Gimpel.
"I thought the testimony from the witness was remarkably unhelpful," said James Kilbreth, one of the lawyers representing Jared Golden, of Gimpel's testimony. "He hadn't talked to a single Maine voter. He hadn't analyzed any previous elections and he just speculated that people were, I mean, it was really kind of demeaning towards Maine voters saying, 'well, they're just guessing,' when the ballot clearly says who's your first choice, who's your second choice."
Kilbreth and co-counsel Peter Brann are siding with the lawyers representing the Secretary of State, claiming ranked choice voting is fair.
After all, it is the law, and Mainers went to the polls to implement ranked-choice voting not once, but twice, in 2016 and 2018.
"I think that basically decides the issue," added Kilbreth.
"There's no indication that [voters] were uninformed," said Brann. "More money was spent in this election than any other congressional election in terms of ads. The thought that someone, unless they lived under a rock, didn't know what was going on in this election is preposterous."
After hearing the case Wednesday, District Court Judge Lance Walker said he's taking the matter under advisement and will render his decision next week.
"Congressman Poliquin wants to be sure that the people of Maine's votes were respected, that no voters were disenfranchised, and that a constitutional election decides the result of this election," said Goodman.
Kilbreth and Brann are confident Poliquin's case will be thrown out.
"The law is so clear about this and the judge's first decision is so clear that we're confident in the outcome," said Kilbreth.
"The people of Maine want this decision quickly and they'd like to see it resolved," said Gimpel.
Lawyers for both Poliquin and Golden said they are waiting for the judge's ruling before deciding their next steps.