November 6, 2012

Early report: Voting levels in Waterville up over four years ago

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — In-person voting in Waterville appears to be up compared with the general election four years ago, city Clerk Patti Dubois said.

click image to enlarge

Waterville voters check in with ward clerks, in foreground, as others wait in line to cast their votes in machines at the busy American Legion Hall on Tuesday. There was concern earlier that a ballot counting machine had malfunctioned but was quickly restored, according to City Clerk Patty Dubois.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

Photo by Jeff Pouland LINING UP TO VOTE: A long line of voters extends out the door of the Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post 5 shortly after the polls opened in Waterville on Tuesday. High voter turn out is expected today.

She also said that a minor problem with one of the ballot counting machines won't slow the processing of voters.

Despite the apparent increased turnout this morning, Dubois said that the overall number of votes cast will likely be similar to the number in 2008 because there have been fewer absentee ballots cast this year.

"I've been wondering why there were a thousand fewer absentee ballots," Dubois said. She said she found her answer this morning, when she saw how many in-person voters were lines that at time extended out the front door.

A handful of candidates stood outside or in the foyer of the American Legion building on College Avenue, greeting voters just before they went inside to make their decision.

The parking lot was nearly full all morning and when the polls opened at 8 a.m., a line of voters that extended around the side of the building had already formed.

Dubois said election day staff members were handling the flood of voters well, with turnout slowing somewhat at about 10 a.m.

The staff was initially concerned when one of the machines that accepts ballots appeared to stop working, but Dubois said she discovered that it was simply being "finicky."

"It will still accept the ballots if you orient the paper in a certain way," she said. "It won't affect anything."

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