Election officials reported strong turnouts at polling places across the state Tuesday and no significant disruptions as Maine voters cast ballots in everything from the statewide governor’s contest to local races.

“Based on what we saw across the state today, voter enthusiasm was very high,” Bellows said Tuesday evening.

Bellows predicted a turnout of 70% across the state, higher than for the 2018 midterm election but less than in the 2020 presidential year. A big part of that turnout was a flood of absentee ballots, which could represent a third of all votes cast.

Earlier Tuesday, Bellows said there were no reports of significant problems at the polls.

“There have been no hiccups reported so far across the state,” she said Tuesday morning. “Our clerks are very well trained and very well prepared. They’ve been working nights and weekends to get ready for this day.”

A total of 251,788 Mainers took out absentee ballots and 224,674 of them had submitted ballots as of Monday afternoon.


The League of Women Voters of Maine deployed volunteer observers to about 100 polling locations in 80 towns around the state.

People vote minutes after the polls opened at the Woodfords Club in Portland on Tuesday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“Our nonpartisan election observers feed us reports of things going well, and that’s by far what we hear — smoothly run polling places,” Executive Director Anna Kellar said in a news release after polls closed. “This reinforces that voters should have full confidence in the electoral process and that their vote is counted. Maine voters experienced a free, safe, and accessible election.”


Voter turnout was steady throughout the day in Portland.

“In one of our lines, we haven’t had a moment when someone wasn’t coming in to vote,” said Liz Waters, ward clerk at the Exposition Building in Portland.

“A lot of people were anxious to express their preferences,” said George Smyth, warden at Grace Baptist Church in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood.


A longer-than-usual city ballot contributed to lines at some polling places in Portland. Election workers said people were taking longer to answer the 13 questions, and some people needed to discard their ballots and start over because they made a mistake. At Deering High School, warden Barbara Harvey said issuing a new ballot in those situations is smooth and secure.

“It gives us a chance to talk about the integrity of the Maine election system,” she said.

People line up to vote at the Italian Heritage in Portland on Tuesday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


In Cape Elizabeth, early turnout was very heavy with all of the 40 voting booths filled and more than 25 people in line waiting to get ballots.

Town Clerk Deborah Lane said 3,700 of the town’s 8,800 registered voters had already cast absentee ballots before Tuesday. She said she expects that by the end of the day, about 5,800 voters will cast ballots.

In addition to races for political offices, voters are being asked whether they want to spend $116 million for new elementary and middle schools and for a renovation of the town high school.


It was equally busy in Cumberland Tuesday morning, even though nearly half of the town’s 6,650 registered voters had already cast absentee ballots before Election Day, Town Clerk Tammy O’Donnell said.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows greets election warden Dale Kinney at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland on Tuesday. Kinney said he has been doing the job for about 30 years and told Bellows that voter turnout at the center over the morning was very high. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The line to vote stretched outside of the town office when the polls opened at 7 a.m., O’Donnell said.

As in Cape Elizabeth, school spending is a major issue in Cumberland and North Yarmouth, where voters are being asked to spend $73.9 million to purchase land and build a new prekindergarten through second-grade school. The bond would also include money to renovate the Mabel I. Wilson School.

In North Yarmouth, early-morning turnout was heavy, and Town Clerk Debbie Grover said she predicted 80% of voters in the community of 3,800 would cast ballots.

One voter in North Yarmouth, Kimry Corrette, said she cast her ballot for Gov. Janet Mills because she’s concerned about retaining access to abortions in Maine.

Voters lined up to cast their ballots at the Woodfords Club in Portland as the polls opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“It’s about keeping politics out of a woman’s body,” Corrette said. She said she also voted for the school bond because she feels education and school facilities need to keep up with the times.


Ryan Marston had a different issue on his mind – the economy – when he cast his ballot for Paul LePage in Thornton Academy’s Linnell Gymnasium in Saco on Tuesday afternoon. Marston, a 47-year-old quality assurance professional, is a registered Democrat but said he’s recently been voting Republican.

People line up outside the Woodfords Club in Portland to vote as the polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“I think we need a change other than Mills,” he said.


Staff Writers Edward D. Murphy and Hannah LeClaire contributed to this story.

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