Maine election officials are hopeful that a surge in absentee voting requests won't delay results of Tuesday's primary election.
So far Maine voters have requested about 200,000 absentee ballots for Tuesday's primary, about five times as many as the 2018 primary, and roughly 44,000 short of the state record set during the 2008 general election.
Processing that number of ballots - many arriving by mail - can take longer than in-person voting, but Maine election officials have given some town clerks a head start by allowing them to process absentee ballots early.
Those ballots are not actually counted until the election.
There could be delays reporting results Tuesday if there's a large number of absentee ballots returned on Election Day. But so far state figures show 65 percent of the absentee ballot requests have already been returned and processed.