PORTLAND, Maine — One of the many candidates seeking to become Portland’s first publicly elected mayor in nearly 90 years may already have the lead, although residents of Maine’s largest city likely won’t know who until sometime on Nov. 9.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk’s office, and they can be requested by phone, fax, email or in person, according to a city announcement issued this week. Although ballots can be filled out and returned to City Hall for nearly the next month, the ballots will not be counted until election day, Nov. 8.
Sample ballots and a YouTube video explaining the city’s newly implemented ranked choice voting process, which is used this year in the mayoral race, can be found on the city website at www.portlandvoters.com.
Voters can mark absentee ballots in person at the clerk’s office in City Hall during regular office hours, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, until Thursday, Nov. 3. On that date, the clerk’s office will extend its hours until 8 p.m.
Under the ranked choice voting system, voters can rank their choices from No. 1 all the way down to however many choices are available. If any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the first-place votes, he or she wins the election.
If nobody gets more than 50 percent, the last-place finisher in the field is dropped and the second-place finisher on that candidate’s ballots is given first-place tallies. The votes are then counted again, and if the newly reapportioned votes aren’t enough to elevate any of the remaining candidates beyond 50 percent, the process is repeated.