LEWISTON — Want to vote early? You’d better hurry. 

Thursday is the statewide deadline to order an absentee ballot or to vote early. After Thursday, voters will have to wait until Election Day, Nov. 8.

Many people this year have voted early, a practice that is growing in popularity, Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo said. People like the convenience, and want to avoid politicians and signature gatherers at the polls.

As of Tuesday, Lewiston had issued more than 5,600 absentee ballots, and Montejo expects a third of all who vote this year will vote by absentee or early voting.

As of Monday, 208,591 absentee ballots had been issued statewide, according to the Maine Secretary of State Office. Of those, 156,789 had been returned.

In the presidential election in 2012, 190,216 early votes were cast statewide. In 2008, 238,940 Mainers voted early or by absentee ballot.

Lewiston voters who want to vote early are encouraged to request ballots by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 207-513-3124 or by mailing in an application form. Forms can be downloaded from the city’s website. Voters may also vote at City Hall.

Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. But on Thursday, city halls in Lewiston and Auburn will be open until 7 p.m., the city clerk said.

If special circumstances have arisen for a voter, such as an accident or emergency, and they aren’t able to vote on Nov. 8, they will be able to vote via absentee ballot, Montejo said.

Some voters have requested absentee ballots and have not yet returned them, she said.

“We encourage voters to complete their ballots and mail them in soon to ensure we receive them in time,” Montejo said.   

The city’s website, which has sample ballots and directions to polling places, is www.lewistonmaine.gov/elections.

Candidates on the Lewiston ballots are president, representative to Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, state senator for District 21, state representative for Districts 58, 59, 60 and 61, registrar of probate and county commissioner for District 1.

Also on the ballot are six referendum questions:

• Question 1: Legalizing marijuana;

• Question 2: Funding education with 3 percent tax on high-income earners;

• Question 3: Requiring background checks for gun sales and transfers;

• Question 4: Increasing minimum wage to $12 by 2020;

• Question 5:  Implementation of ranked-choice voting; and

• Question 6: Approval of a $100,000,000 transportation bond.      


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