United States District Court, D. Maine
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Maine Republican Party filed this civil action on May 4,
2018, seeking a declaration that the Act to Establish
Ranked-Choice Voting (the “RCV Act”), L.D. 1557,
§§ 1-6 (effective Jan. 7, 2017) (codified at 21-A
M.R.S.A. §§ 1(27-C), 1(35-A), 601(2)(J), 722(1),
723-A (2018)), is unconstitutional as applied to the
Party's process for nominating its candidates for federal
and state elected office. The Party simultaneously moved for
a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the Defendant,
Matthew Dunlap, Secretary of State for the State of Maine
(the “Secretary”), from implementing
ranked-choice voting for the Party's June 12 primary. In
an Order issued May 29, 2018 (ECF No. 22), I denied the
Party's Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Maine
Republican Party has now moved to convert the Court's
Order on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction into an order
denying a permanent injunction and for entry of a final
judgment (ECF No. 25). The Secretary does not oppose the
Motion provided the Court takes judicial notice of certain
facts. The Party also proposes that the Court take judicial
notice of certain facts.
district court can convert a preliminary injunction order
into a permanent injunction order and may do so without an
evidentiary hearing where, as here, the parties agree that no
hearing is necessary and where a hearing would serve little
purpose. The Shell Co. (Puerto Rico) Ltd. v. Los Frailes
Serv. Station, Inc., 605 F.3d 10, 19 n.4 (1st Cir.
a plaintiff seeks permanent injunctive relief, the test is
the same [as the preliminary injunction standard], except
that the movant must show actual success on the merits of the
claim, rather than a mere likelihood of success.”
Caroline T. v. Hudson Sch. Dist., 915 F.2d 752, 755
(1st Cir. 1990) (internal quotation marks omitted). In
denying the Party's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, I
determined that “the Secretary has asserted legitimate
interests which outweigh any limited burden the RCV Act
imposes upon the Maine Republican Party's [constitutional
rights]. Thus, the Maine Republican Party has not succeeded
in demonstrating a likelihood of success on the merits of its
claim.” Maine Republican Party v. Dunlap, No.
1:18-cv-00179-JDL, 2018 WL 2424108, at *9 (D. Me. May 29,
2018). Because, in making this decision, I viewed all
material facts in the light most favorable to the Maine
Republican Party, and because the Party does not wish to
introduce any additional evidence, the Party cannot now show
actual success on the merits where it failed to previously
show a likelihood of success.
that no disputes of material facts remain and that the May 29
Order addressed all of the legal issues contained in the
Party's challenge to the RCV Act, I adopt and restate all
of the legal conclusions contained in the May 29 Order,
convert the denial of the preliminary injunction into a
denial of a permanent injunction, and enter final judgment
for the Secretary.
parties further request that in making this ruling I take
judicial notice of certain facts. See Fed. R. Evid.
201(b) (“The court may judicially notice a fact that is
not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is
generally known within the trial court's territorial
jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined
from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.”). For the reasons stated in open court at
the hearing held on July 30, 2018, I take judicial notice of
the following facts:
1. The People's Veto referendum was sustained on June 12,
2018, by a vote of 149, 900 (53.9%) to 128, 291 (46.1%); and
2. Ranked-choice voting applies as a matter of Maine law in
future elections for U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative, as
well as primary elections for those offices and the offices
of Governor, State Senator and State Representative.
3. The only two election contests in the Republican Party
primary election on June 12, 2018 for which voters cast a
ranked-choice voting ballot were determined based on one
candidate receiving more than 50% of the first choice votes;
accordingly, although ranked-choice voting applied to these
contests, see 29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535 § 1, the
ranked-choice method of counting ballots for successive
rounds in a centralized location, see 29-250 C.M.R.
ch. 535 § 4, was not employed.
4. In the contest for the Republican nomination for Governor,
candidate Shawn Moody received 56.6% of the first choice
votes and was determined the winner; and 5. In the contest
for the Republican nomination for State Representative in
House District 75, Joshua Morris received 51% of the first
choice votes and was determined the winner.
foregoing reasons, the Party's Motion (ECF No. 25) is
GRANTED and I convert the May 29, 2018,
denial of the Maine Republican Party's Motion for
Preliminary Injunction into a denial of permanent injunction,
and enter final judgment for the Secretary. I further take
judicial notice of the facts described above.