Mainers head to polls for primary election; turnout picks up in Bangor area

Posted June 10, 2014, at 11:55 a.m.
Last modified June 10, 2014, at 8:57 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Voter turnout in the June primary election in the Bangor area jumped a little with lunchtime voting after starting slowly in the morning, according to election officials.

Polls across the state will remain open until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“It’s kind of sparse, not huge numbers,” Brewer City Clerk Pam Ryan said at around 10 a.m. “We’ve had a little over 100 [voters].” With voters taking time during the lunch hour to head to the polls, the number jumped to 511 by 2 p.m., she said.

As of 2 p.m., 2,157 Bangor residents turned out to vote at the Cross Insurance Center, according to City Clerk Lisa Goodwin.

“[Total] turnout is usually between 3,000 and 5,000,” during June elections, she said. In addition to the primary races for the 2nd Congressional District, Bangor residents are also voting on a school budget.

Hampden has had a “steady, slow trickle,” according to Amy Millett, deputy town clerk. “At around 9 a.m., it was 35.”

“We had, at 1 p.m., 373 votes [cast] out of the 5,000-plus that can vote,” Hampden Town Manager Sue Lessard said. “It’s going to pick up around dinnertime.”

Brewer’s city clerk agreed that voting usually picks up after people get out of work.

“We’ll probably have a flurry,” Ryan said.

There are 11 polling places in Portland that do not send in results until voting ends for the day, a city clerk said, noting there was no early report available on turnout. Voters in Maine’s largest city are considering a ballot question to protect public spaces, such as parks, from development.

In Clifton, where the town’s 736 registered voters can cast ballots whether to increase wind turbine setbacks, voting is steady, Deborah Hodgins, town administrative assistant, said.

“We’re busy,” she said. “It’s been a steady flow.”

“We’ve had 110 come through the door and 50 absentee,” Hodgins said at 2 p.m. “That’s a lot for us. It’s still steady.”

Residents are voting on a petition produced by wind farm opponents Clifton Task Force on Wind, which asks voters if they want to increase the setbacks for wind turbines to 4,000 feet from property lines instead of from homes.

Current rules require 4,000-foot setbacks from residences and sound levels that are more strict than required by the state, Clifton Planning Board Chairman Eric Johns has said. The Planning Board opposed the petition.

Clifton residents will return to the voting booths July 1 to vote on proposed wind farm and other land use code amendments, created by the planning board.

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.