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Secretary Of State: Record Turnout Expected, 'Entirely Possible' Most Maine Results Apparent Tonight

Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Tuesday.

Elections officials nationally have been warning that it could take days or longer to know how a particular state voted in the race for president and other major offices. But Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says early processing of absentee ballots in Maine means some results may be clear tonight.

“I know people around the country have said, ‘Be patient, be prepared to wait some period of time to get results,’ but we think we could see results tonight. It’s entirely possible,” he says.

Dunlap says there will always be close races that will require a recount and contests in which ranked-choice voting will require several days to tabulate results.

Dunlap says he believes turnout will exceed the 2016 presidential election, which he says totaled some 772,000 votes. He says this year’s turnout is being driven by about half a million absentee ballots cast through Monday afternoon.

“Portland processed 33,000 absentee ballots so I think what that translates into is that people are really, really dialed in on this election and we are seeing as a result voter turnout of historic proportions,” he says.

There are about a million Mainers who are eligible to vote, and the state historically has seen a turnout of about 70% in presidential elections.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.