Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told the press that Maine voters are “fully engaged” this election day because voter turnout has been “strong” in all parts of the state today. “This is the busiest I’ve ever been since I was elected,” he said outside of Merrill Auditorium late this morning where voters had formed a long line to vote earlier in the morning.
Following his vote in Old Town early this morning, he’d been traveling the state monitoring polling places. He has heard of no issues at any of the polling places and more specifically no cases of voter intimidation in the state. The turnout for in-person voting has been heavier than expected because of the large number of absentee voters in the state the Secretary said.
Five hundred and twenty nine thousand absentee ballots were issued in the state and five hundred and two thousand of them have been returned so far. For those still outstanding, they need to be returned by 8:00 pm in order to be counted in the final tally. Secretary Dunlap said there would be no definitive results tonight and that the State has 20 days to certify its results.
A warden at the East End Community School voting venue said the voting had been strong all day. There were several lulls, however. One was in late morning. The second was mid-afternoon when the above photo was taken. But she said that voting was picking up again as the afternoon wore on.
In a thoughtful statement issued to the University of Maine System, Chancellor Dan Malloy wrote in part:
“I call on you …..to respect the democratic and legal processes that may be pursued by either campaign to review the vote counts before the final outcome can be officially declared…If the results are not immediately and decisively clear, our community members may choose to exercise their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly to express support for their candidate in the days or even weeks that may pass until the next president can be democratically determined. Our Constitution expects as much. But it also expects us to be responsible citizens. We can all celebrate together this week that everyone’s vote counts. And let’s respect everyone’s right to make sure they’re all counted.” Chancellor Malloy was formerly the Governor of Connecticut.
When asked what would be the response of Maine if Trumpy attorneys started to meddle in the election results starting tonight as he has threatened, Secretary Dunlap said: “He can do whatever he wants, because the states run the elections. He doesn’t.”
Polls are open until 8:00 pm tonight.