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It's an off-year election, but the number of absentee ballots returned in Maine suggest a sizable turnout

Election 2020 Maine
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine — Tens of thousands of Mainers requested absentee ballots for this week's election, suggesting a higher-than-usual vote in an off-year election.

More than 88,000 absentee ballots have been returned, which is ahead of the 2019 election before the pandemic.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said Monday that points toward a higher-than-normal turnout for an election in which the statewide ballot features only referendums and no high-profile state or federal political races.