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Sec. of State predicts Maine will have results on election night

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap believes there is "a pretty good chance we will know where we are on election night" in terms of all major races

AUGUSTA, Maine — Officials are warning we likely won't know the result of the presidential election on election night. However, it could be a different story with some of the national races here in Maine.

Maine's top election official, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, says he's confident we'll have a relatively clear picture of how Mainers voted on Tuesday night.

"I think there's a pretty good chance will know where we are on election night. We're going to have at least a good compass on where we stand," Dunlap said Monday. 

That's where we stand on how Maine will split its four electoral votes in the presidential race, whether a Senate candidate has won more than 50 percent of the vote, and which congressional candidates won their districts.

Maine town and city clerks have been processing an unprecedented number of absentee ballots for about two weeks now. 

"We’ve seen a historic truly historic turn out by absentee ballots this cycle. We saw in the primary election something like six times the number of absentee ballots and we’ve seen a similar proportion in this general cycle," Dunlap says, "about half a million ballots or more and they’re still coming in."

Dunlap says the state hasn't run into any major problems yet. 

"We've seen things go really smoothly. some glitches here and there, but nothing really serious that would slow the process down."

However, there's the possibility of curveballs.

"It's a little like being a shortstop you have no idea which way the ball is going to come out you. So you just gotta be prepared to field it," says Dunlap. 

In Maine, the major curveball: whether the presidential or Senate race goes to ranked-choice voting. 

RELATED: What is Maine ranked-choice voting and how does ranked-choice voting work?

"That could take some time," Dunlap says. "It could take a week to 10 days or more to do all of that scanning and tabulating."

Dunlap says if that happens, the process will be as timely and transparent as possible.

"I personally philosophically believe that my work belongs to the public and they have a right to know what I'm doing. So will just tell people what's going on."

The take-away: be prepared to practice patience on Tuesday and perhaps in the following days.

We should mention, Maine's legislative races, as well as the 1st and 2nd Congressional District races, are all done by plurality so we should have a pretty good idea on election night or shortly thereafter of where things stand.

RELATED: Where to vote in Maine on Election Day

RELATED: COVID-19 precautions in effect at Maine polling locations