BANGOR, Maine — As expected, voter turnout in Maine’s biggest cities was low in an off-year Tuesday election with few major races.
On Tuesday afternoon, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he had mostly been hearing reports from clerks of a steady “drip, drip, drip” of voters at polling places across the state on Tuesday with no reports of heavy turnout, including in communities with high-profile races.
Dunlap’s office projected up to 25 percent voter turnout in communities with high-profile local questions. In most others, he was projecting between 15 percent and 20 percent. Lewiston and Bangor looked to be lagging slightly behind those projections before polls closed.
In Lewiston, where there was a mayoral race between Democrat Mark Cayer, Republican Tim Lajoie and perennial candidate Charles Soule, nearly 19 percent of registered voters cast ballots in person or as absentees by 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Bangor, which had an 11-person race for four city council seats, lagged slightly behind at 17 percent turnout around the same time.
Citywide turnout figures were not available before polls closed in Portland, where a race between first-term Mayor Ethan Strimling and three challengers — chief among them more centrist candidates in City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau and former school board chair Kate Snyder — was the most-watched in the state.
No formal campaigns were waged on behalf of two questions on the statewide ballot that were widely expected to pass. Question 1 was a $105 million transportation bond. Question 2 was a constitutional amendment to make it easier for people with certain physical disabilities to help put referendum questions on the ballot.
Dunlap said there were few complaints of irregularities at the polls on Tuesday. He said one involved a closed Westbrook food truck that made a Facebook post offering free meals to people who said they voted for a Republican mayoral candidate running against three Democrats. The post appeared to have been taken down by late Tuesday afternoon.