BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Election officials in Bangor ran out of absentee ballots due to a record turnout for the final day of early voting Thursday.
“We were getting low yesterday morning when we started out so we were monitoring every hour how many ballots we had used and when we get down to about 50 ballots that's when we call and say we need to open up the box,” Bangor City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said.
The city had to get state approval to use election day ballots instead.
Goodwin is also president of the Maine Town and City Clerks’ Association. She said Bangor was not the only city to see an impressive turnout this year.
Portland City Hall saw a rush at the lunch hour, forcing some to wait over an hour to cast their ballot.
"I knew it was going to be pack on Tuesday so I wanted to just have my vote in early and have it taken care of,” Sarah MacDonald said.
Voters at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor flooded in even in the final hours—many hoping to avoid what could be much longer lines on election day.
"We have a lot of people that come out every four years and they don't vote in any of the other elections. I had one lady tell me to day see you in four years and I said but we have an election next year,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said she also believes people are more motivated this year, both by the intensity of the presidential race and the large number of high-stakes citizen initiatives.
“This being the presidential is huge and the issues are huge,” MacDonald said.
The earlier deadline went into effect a few years ago to take pressure off of local officials ahead of election day.
Despite Thursday’s crowds, Goodwin says they are still preparing for a busy day come next Tuesday.
“I have a really good crew. We've been training for quite a while and they're ready for the day. We'll be rested and ready to go,” Goodwin said.