LEWISTON — Judging by absentee ballots alone, Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election should be busy.

City Clerk Kathy Montejo said 2,983 people requested absentee ballots in the 17 business days leading up to the Dec. 8 vote. Of those, 2,709 had already voted and returning their ballots to her office, leaving fewer than 300 still out as of Friday morning.

The Nov. 3 municipal election included 2,199 absentee ballots. 

A similar increase in the live voting could make a for a long night Tuesday. Montejo said she’ll take 6,000 printed ballots to the polls at Longley Elementary School.

All will have to be hand-counted once the polls close at 8 p.m., she said.

“We are hoping to be done by 10 p.m, 10:30,” she said. “We have a potential for 9,000 voters and we just don’t know how to gauge the in-person turnout Tuesday.”


According to the city, 8,332 people cast mayoral ballots in the Nov. 3 election.

“But it might be that this ballot gets more votes because it’s easier to understand,” Montejo said. “There are just two candidates, pick one or pick the other. It’s simpler.”

Voters will select their next mayor, incumbent Robert Macdonald or challenger Ben Chin. The two had the most votes out of a field of five at the Nov. 3 polls, but neither managed a 50 percent-plus majority, triggering the runoff provision in Lewiston’s City Charter.

The whole voting process Tuesday, from in-person voting to counting the final vote and announcing the winner will be in the gymnasium of Longley School, 145 Birch St. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Democrats hold the edge in absentee voting by a wide margin, she said. According to Montejo, 1,910 Democrats took out absentee ballots compared to 556 voters with no party affiliation and 434 Republicans. She said 76 Green-Independents and seven registered Libertarians took out absentee ballots as well.


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