Maine residents will head to the polls Tuesday to vote on school budgets, municipal positions and one legislative race, but the state’s top election official predicts voter turnout will be low.

Voters in towns and cities across Maine will weigh in on education budgets, consider municipal spending packages, elect town councilors and selectmen, and vote on ordinance changes. Despite the host of issues and races on local ballots, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he anticipates overall voter turnout will be low because there is no statewide ballot.

Dunlap predicted overall turnout will be around 10 percent, but could reach 25 percent in House District 45 as voters elect a replacement for a former representative.

“Residents of Cumberland and parts of Gray will be electing a new state representative on Tuesday, but voters throughout Maine should also be aware of the important local issues on their ballots, from electing local officials to considering school and municipal budgets,” Dunlap said. “While federal elections receive more attention, these local decisions have even more impact on Mainers’ daily lives, which is why it’s so important to cast your ballot Tuesday.”

Residents of Cumberland and Gray will vote in the special legislative election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Dale Denno. Denno, a Democrat from Cumberland, resigned his seat representing House District 45 on March 27 and died from lung cancer on April 16.

Democrat Stephen W. Moriarty, a former state representative, and Republican Kevin C. Hughes are vying to represent the district through the end of the term in December 2020. Both candidates are from Cumberland.


While some communities will vote only on school budget proposals, towns including Scarborough, Ogunquit, Buxton, Alfred and Waterboro will elect town councilors or selectmen. In Kennebunk, voters will consider an ordinance that would ban balloons from being displayed outside or in town-owned buildings. And in Ogunquit, residents will vote on a zoning change that would allow for the renovation and restoration of the historic Ogunquit Playhouse.

Residents in towns across the state will vote on school budgets and, in most cases, whether to continue those public votes for another three years.

In Portland, residents will consider a $117.4 million education budget. School officials say the proposed budget maintains staffing levels while implementing universal pre-kindergarten. Superintendent Xavier Botana urged residents to support the budget, which the school board reduced by $450,000 under the direction of the City Council.

“We worked very closely to make sure that the elected officials understood the value of retaining our core programming and implementing key improvements such as expanded pre-kindergarten classes and a well resourced behavioral health continuum,” Botana said in a statement to voters.

If the education spending package is approved, Portland residents will see an 83-cent increase in the tax rate when combined with the municipal budget. The tax rate would increase from $22.48 to $23.31 per $1,000 of valuation.

South Portland residents will vote on a $52.3 million education budget that is up 4.6 percent from the current year. The budget adds a special education teacher to the middle and high schools while eliminating three vacant educational technician positions. It also designates $300,000 for iPads, laptops and other technology for students.


The combined South Portland municipal and school budgets will add 42 cents to the property tax rate, an increase of $84 on the annual tax bill of a house valued at $200,000.

Westbrook city councilors approved a $40.3 million school budget that will be voted on by residents Tuesday. The school spending plan is part of an overall $69.8 million city budget for fiscal year 2020. The tax rate will increase by 50 cents to $20.45 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of $100 on the tax bill of a $200,000 home.

Biddeford voters will consider a $38.9 million education budget that, when combined with the $33.1 million city budget and $1.2 million for county tax, will increase the tax rate by 36 cents. That will increase the annual tax bill on a $227,100 home by $74.55.

In Saco, residents will vote on a $40.5 million school budget, which is about 3 percent higher than the budget for the current year. If approved by voters, the combined school and municipal budgets will add 11 cents to the current tax rate of $19.49 per $1,000 of assessed value. That increase adds $22 to the annual property tax bill of a $200,000 home.

Old Orchard Beach residents will weigh in on a proposed $15 million school budget for Regional School Unit 23. During a town meeting-style vote last month, residents increased that budget by $210,000 to add extra funding for special education staff.

The budget is 6.6 percent higher than the current budget and, when combined with the $18.8 million municipal budget, will increase the current $15.30 tax rate by about 50 cents. That equates to about a $100 annual property tax increase on a $200,000 home.

Polls open by 8 a.m. in most towns and cities and are open until 8 p.m. Residents can register to vote on the day of the election.

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