A mixup that resulted in some Brewer voters receiving a ballot for a neighboring legislative district was limited to fewer than 100 ballots, according to Brewer’s assistant city manager. The city had recovered nearly a third of those ballots by the end of the day Friday.
The wrong ballots were among 2,000 the city of Brewer issued last week as it faced a number of absentee ballot requests that Assistant City Manager James Smith called “unprecedented” in a letter sent to voters and posted on the city website. As part of the mixup, some voters in House District 128 — which covers most of the city — received ballots for the neighboring House District 129.
The error has a bearing on the race for one office, Maine state representative.
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In House District 128, incumbent Rep. Kevin O’Connell, a Democrat, is running against Republican Garrel Craig. O’Connell defeated Craig in a special election in March to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Archie Verow, who died in December.
In District 129, which includes the northeastern corner of Brewer as well as Clifton, Eddington, Holden and Veazie, Republican Rep. Peter Lyford of Eddington is running unopposed for a fourth term.
The wrong ballots were included in a first mailing of ballots the city sent out Tuesday, Smith said. As a team of six city employees prepared the ballots, he said, someone likely pulled a package of District 129 ballots while preparing mailings for District 128 voters.
By Thursday afternoon, Smith said he had heard from voters who reported receiving the wrong ballot and counted the city’s ballot inventory to determine the size of the mixup. The next day, city employees started calling voters who likely received the wrong ballot and prepared a mailing for District 128 voters. They had recovered 30 ballots by the end of the day Friday.
The city is asking voters to call 207-989-7050 or stop by City Hall if they’re unsure if they received the correct ballot. The city has also temporarily removed its ballot dropbox from City Hall so election officials can speak with voters dropping off completed ballots to ensure they’ve filled out the correct one.
City officials posted a list of street names on the Brewer website to help voters determine whether they live in District 128 or 129 so they can figure out whether they might have been affected by the ballot mixup.
Brewer is home to about 7,300 registered voters, so the 2,000 absentee ballot requests account for more than a quarter of the city’s voters.