Turnout strong in Maine, across country

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in News

Turnout strong in Maine, across country

BATH -- Turnout was brisk only minutes after the polls in this midcoast town opened at 8 a.m.

In addition to votes for president and vice president, Maine will also decide on a new senator, vote for candidates for both congressional districts, vote on the same-sex marriage question, and decide on four ballot measures Tuesday.

Voters are choosing from four candidates for president ... Barack Obama (D), Mitt Romney (R), Gary Johnson (L) and Jill Stein (G). 

There are also a number of candidates running for the senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe. State Sen. Cynthia Dill (D), Sec. of State Charlie Summers (R), and former Gov. Angus King (I) are considered the contenders, but two other independent candidates, Danny Dalton and Andrew Ian Dodge, are still in the race.  A sixth candidate, Steve Woods, dropped out of the race on Saturday and urged his supporters to vote for Angus King, even though his name still appears on the ballot.

Incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree (District 1) is running for reelection against Republican Jon Courtney, and Incumbent Democrat Mike Michaud is vying against Maine Speaker Kevin Raye (R) for the second district.

Despite a heavy showing at the polls, absentee ballots were down from four years ago. In 2008 there were 240,000 absenteee ballots cast. Nearly 197,000 ballots were requested by Nov. 2, and about 182,000 have been returned, according to Megan Sanborn, a spokeswoman with the Secretary of State's office.

The five ballot measures include Question 1, which will determine whether same-sex couples can get a marriage license in Maine, and four bond measures totalling nearly $76 million. They include proposed borrowing of $11.3 million for universities and colleges; $5 million to buy land and conservation easements; $51.5 million for transportation-related projects; and $7.9 million for public drinking water systems and for wastewater treatment facilities.

In presidential elections, Maine typically has a high turnout ... better than 70 percent ... and this year appears to be typical.

No significant problems have been reported in Maine, however, across the country, numerous issues have cropped up.

In Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and in several other states, poll challengers from the tea party organization 'True the Vote' have been ejected for being overly 'zealous' and disruptive to the process.  In Florida, Pennsylvania, and to a lesser degree in Ohio, voting machines have malfunctioned, changing the vote from Obama to Romney or vice versa.  There have been reports of lost ballots across the country.  And in New York and New Jersey, polling stations are down or have no electricity, necessitating the changing of polls at the last minute, leading to confusion.  Long lines are reported in almost all states, suggesting that turnout is very high this year. 

Weather may also play a role in Florida, New York state, and other locations in New England, affecting turnout locally.

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