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Municipal Officials Say Mainers Are Embracing In-Person Absentee Voting

Mainers are taking of advantage of in-person absentee voting, a day after several municipalities began allowing it.

State election officials initially sent printed ballots to larger municipalities, where residents could visit polling places and complete them in advance of Election Day.

“We had a line out the building even before the doors opened,” says Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes

Holmes says her office processed 580 ballots yesterday.

“It was really good. It makes me very happy that voters are getting in and getting their votes in, taking care of this to make sure everything is in and counted by close of polls on Election Day,” she says.

Holmes says Tuesday hasn’t been quite as busy, but voters have been coming in at a steady rate. Presque Isle and Lewiston officials are reporting a similar trend.

Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo says about 200 city voters cast in-person absentee ballots on Monday, and about half that number voted in-person Tuesday.

Montejo says that, because of state regulations limiting the number of people inside of polling places, the city is encouraging people to vote early.

“The concern is that, of course, Election Day is the last opportunity to vote and, if there is a large, outside line, people might get discouraged, which is what we do not want to happen,” she says.

Montejo says Lewiston has already issued about 7,500 absentee ballots and expects to give out around 15,000. That would be 70 percent of all ballots cast.

Holmes says Westbrook voters have already requested more than 5,000 absentee ballots in a city with just over 14,000 registered voters. She says the city is projecting about three-quarters of ballots cast this year will be absentee.

The secretary of state's office says all Maine voters will have the option to cast in-person absentee ballots ahead of Election Day at their municipal office.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.