LEWISTON — Absentee ballots are more popular with Twin Cities voters this year than they were in the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to municipal clerks.
Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo said her staff have issued 3,100 absentee ballots so far this year. They gave out 3,026 in 2010.
“We still have two, two and a half days to go,” Montejo said. “That’s when you usually see a large, last-minute push.”
In Auburn, Deputy City Clerk Alison Pepin said 2,060 residents have asked for absentee ballots, compared to 1,948 requested in 2010.
“We are pretty steady with the ballots, but it has been quiet,” Pepin said. “We haven’t had lines out the door.”
Montejo said the number of big issues on the ballot may be behind voter interest.
“There are things that are bringing out different demographics,” Montejo said. “The bear-baiting vote is bringing out sportsmen who may or may not normally vote every year. The Lewiston housing item is bringing out different demographics and then we have the marijuana vote. So we are just seeing a higher than average number of ballot requests.”
Residents have until the close of business Thursday to request absentee ballots. Lewiston and Auburn city clerk’s offices will keep their offices and early voting open until 7 p.m. Thursday.
Residents can submit their ballot to their clerk’s office until the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Residents can request the ballots in person, vote and hand them back immediately if they choose.
Residents can also call the city clerk’s offices to request absentee ballots or request one via the Secretary of State’s website, www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl.
Montejo said Lewiston residents should also double check their ward locations. The city updated the ward map in June, shifting the boundaries between some wards slightly.
“We sent out 3,200 postcards in October to voters who were impacted, as a reminder,” Montejo said. “Some were returned to us as undeliverable and I’m sure that many were just overlooked, like they were junk mail. We just want people to be aware that the ward lines have changed.”
Ward lines are scheduled to change in Auburn as well, but Auburn councilors opted to delay the changes until after November’s ballot.
Montejo said voters should go to the Maine Secretary of State’s website to verify their polling locations. They can also call her office to check.
Deadline to request them is close of business Thursday, Oct. 30.
There are three ways to request an absentee ballot:
* Visit your municipal clerk’s office, on the second floor of Lewiston City Hall for Lewiston residents and the main floor of Auburn Hall for Auburn residents.
* Call your municipal clerk’s office and ask them to send you an absentee ballot: The number is 207-513-3124 in Lewiston, and 207-333-6601, ext. 1126, for Auburn residents.
* Request an absentee ballot online. Lewiston and Auburn have links on their respective websites, but they feed to the state website at www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl.
Residents can also have family members request and pick up absentee ballots for them.
Twin Cities Polling Places, Nov. 4
• Ward 1: Lewiston Memorial Armory, 65 Central Ave.
• Ward 2: Montello School, 407 East Ave.
• Ward 3: Lewiston Memorial Armory, 65 Central Ave.
• Ward 4: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.
• Ward 5: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.
• Ward 6: The Green Ladle/Lewiston Regional Technical Center/Lewiston High School Campus, 156 East Ave.
• Ward 7: Longley Elementary School (formerly Multi-Purpose Center), 145 Birch St.
• Ward 1: Washburn School, 35 Lake Auburn Ave.
• Ward 2: Auburn Middle School, 38 Falcon Dr.
• Ward 3: Auburn Hall, 60 Court St.;
• Ward 4: Fairview School, 397 Minot Ave.
• Ward 5: Sherwood Heights School, 32 Sherwood Dr.