Mainers requesting absentee ballots at record rate for July primary

Maine voters are requesting absentee ballots at a record rate for the July 14 primary as many cities and towns consolidate polling places due to the COVID-19 outbreak.Portland’s city clerk has already received 8,500 absentee ballot requests, which is more than quadruple the number requested in the 2018 primary.The city is planning to have one polling place for each of the city’s five districts, plus one on Peaks Island.Lewiston plans to maintain the single polling location it used in the March presidential primary.Augusta will consolidate its four wards into one at the Augusta Civic Center.One reason for the change is a shortage of poll workers.“A lot of the election staff wasn’t comfortable working at the polls. As you now, it’s an elderly population that works the polls. They have a lot of at-risk scenarios, so they weren’t necessarily comfortable,” Augusta City Clerk Patti Dubois said.Only 12 Maine municipalities have more than one polling location. They have until July 4 to decide whether and how to consolidate them for next month’s primary.Gov. Janet Mills on Friday encouraged Mainers to vote absentee if at all possible.

Maine voters are requesting absentee ballots at a record rate for the July 14 primary as many cities and towns consolidate polling places due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Portland’s city clerk has already received 8,500 absentee ballot requests, which is more than quadruple the number requested in the 2018 primary.

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The city is planning to have one polling place for each of the city’s five districts, plus one on Peaks Island.

Lewiston plans to maintain the single polling location it used in the March presidential primary.

Augusta will consolidate its four wards into one at the Augusta Civic Center.

One reason for the change is a shortage of poll workers.

“A lot of the election staff wasn’t comfortable working at the polls. As you now, it’s an elderly population that works the polls. They have a lot of at-risk scenarios, so they weren’t necessarily comfortable,” Augusta City Clerk Patti Dubois said.

Only 12 Maine municipalities have more than one polling location. They have until July 4 to decide whether and how to consolidate them for next month’s primary.

Gov. Janet Mills on Friday encouraged Mainers to vote absentee if at all possible.