LEWISTON — More voters have opted to cast their ballots absentee for next Tuesday’s mayoral runoff than in the Nov. 3 election.

City Clerk Kathy Montejo said her office has processed 2,527 absentee ballot requests since they became available Nov. 6. Many have come in the last 10 days, and 193 requests came in Tuesday alone.

By contrast, her office issued 2,199 absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 election during the months of August, September and October.

“I think it’s a bit of everything,” Montejo said. “Voters are concerned because it’s a winter election and they don’t want to risk going to the polls in ice or snow or whatever. We have a spike because some residents go out of town and head south after Thanksgiving.”

Voters will select Lewiston’s next mayor Dec. 8, either incumbent Robert Macdonald or challenger Ben Chin.

Lewiston’s charter requires a candidate to win more than 50 percent of the votes cast to be elected mayor. Chin collected 44; Macdonald collected 37 percent.

Montejo said her office has averaged 163 requests for absentee ballots each day for the Dec. 8 runoff election.

Voters have until the close of business Thursday to ask for absentee ballots. She said her office will stay open until 7 p.m. Thursday to take ballot requests and for early voting. Voters can call and request ballots as well, at 207-513-3124.

Montejo recommended voters mailing their ballots back to her office get them in the mail no later than Friday. All absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, the time the polls close.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lewiston’s Longley Elementary School.

Montejo said it’s not just absentee voters, but new voters as well. Her office registered 21 people who have never voted before on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. Many are seniors, she said. Her office checks birth dates for people requesting absentee ballots.

“And what’s amazing me is how many voters were born in the 1920s,” she said. “We have a lot of elderly voters we are dealing with. I don’t know if they voted in November, but they are doing it now.”

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