Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo, left, and election workers count ballots in the 2016 school budget vote. The budget was rejected by six votes last year. As of Tuesday, no had requested an absentee ballot for Tuesday’s referendum, which could indicate the school budget vote could again suffer a low voter turnout.

LEWISTON — As of Tuesday morning, not one person had requested an absentee ballot for the May 9 school budget referendum.

That’s unusual, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said.

School budget referendum votes do attract low voter turnout, “but I usually get 10 to 15 requests for absentee ballots,” she said Tuesday.

That tells her that this school budget referendum may again get a low voter turnout, which is what happened last year when the budget was rejected by six votes.

Last year, 2.8 percent of the city’s 25,000 registered voters, 740 people, cast votes. The budget was defeated 367-373, which meant it was sent out to referendum a second time in June, when it was approved.


The day after the first referendum last year, Simones’ Hot Dog Stand patrons said they had intended to vote but were busy and forgot, that the school budget referendum is not on a normal voting day.

The Lewiston School Department has done its job of getting the word out to voters, Montejo said.

The department sent out a two-page flyer reminding citizens of the vote with budget information, as well as a public information meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 4 at Lewiston Middle School.

“I look forward to seeing people at this meeting and hope for a large voter turnout on May 9,” Superintendent Bill Webster wrote.

Every household in Lewiston — not just those who have students — was mailed the flyer, Montejo said. 

Lewiston residents can vote on the budget by absentee ballot at City Hall until the close of business on Thursday. They can also pick up absentee ballots until 4 p.m. Thursday, Montejo said.

Voting on Tuesday will be held at Longley Elementary School.

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