PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — “Steady” was the word commonly used to describe activity at the polls in Aroostook County on Election Day, as a constant stream of voters flowed into many polling places to cast ballots on a number of hot-button issues.
Voters also were choosing representatives to serve on municipal and school board seats.
“Turnout has been great so far, very steady,” Presque Isle City Clerk Nancy Nichols said Tuesday afternoon. “There was a line at the door when the polls opened this morning, but everyone is getting through quickly.”
Nichols said she was “very encouraged” to see the number of voters, particularly in an off-year election.
Nichols said that by noon Tuesday more than 400 people had cast ballots. That figure came on top of the 700 absentee ballots cast before Election Day.
“That is 10 percent of our voters, so that is great,” she said. “There has not been a dull moment here. It has been active all day.”
In Fort Kent, clerks Tuesday afternoon reported that the stream of voters had not slowed since the polls opened at 8 a.m.
In Madawaska, Town Clerk Rinette Madore said voter turnout had been steady all day. Madore said she had fielded a large number of absentee ballots and that voters were waiting to cast ballots when the poll doors opened.
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap raised his forecast of voter turnout to about 50 percent. He said that during a typical off-year election, 15 to 25 percent of Maine voters typically cast ballots, compared with 70 percent or higher during presidential election years.
In Houlton, Town Clerk Cathy O’Leary described turnout as “very steady.”
“People have been coming in all day long,” she said just after 2 p.m. “We had people lined up first thing this morning.”
O’Leary said she had received 365 absentee ballots by Tuesday.
Clerks at smaller polling places also reported “steady” turnout.
“We have had at least 200 people here,” Littleton Town Clerk Courtney Toby said just after 3:30 p.m. “It has been very steady since this morning.”