PORTLAND — Voters will head to the polls July 14 to choose which Statehouse candidates will represent their parties in the general election in November and to weigh in on the 2020-2021 school budget, a local referendum to form a charter commission and two state referendums.

The city will operate 11 polling locations like in previous elections, but residents who usually vote at the Portland Expo will, for this election, vote at the Troubh Ice Arena next door. The Expo is still being used as a coronavirus quarantine site for homeless people.

At the polls, protocols will be in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“All polling places will be marked for 6-foot social distancing. Election staff will be wearing face shields and masks. We will have Plexiglas barriers on the incoming table and table passing out ballots,” City Clerk Kathy Jones said. “We will offer each voter a wipe to wipe down the booths. We will only be allowing two voters per booth, normally there would be four. We will be handing a voting pen to the voter to then drop in a box to be sanitized later.”

Despite the health precautions that will be taken, many voters are opting to vote absentee. As of Monday, 14,875 voters had requested absentee ballots, an increase of 5,000 over this time in 2018, Jones said.

The ballot has three contested primary races for city Democrats.

James Cloutier and Grayson Lookner are competing for the Democratic nod to represent House District 37, which includes Libbytown, Nasons Corner, Rosemont and Stroudwater neighborhoods. The winner of the primary will face Republican Jane Frey and Green Party member Jonathan Warren Safarik, who is mounting a write-in campaign.

Michael Flaherty, Charles Skold and Barbara Wood are in a runoff to represent House District 38, which includes the West End and St. John/Valley neighborhoods, in the Statehouse.

Laurie Davis, Benjamin Grant and Samuel Zager are vying to be the next representative for House District 41, which includes Deering Center, Deering Highlands, Woodfords Corner and Oakdale neighborhoods.

Incumbent House 43 Representative Edward Crockett is being challenged in the primary by fellow Democrat Robert Mentzinger. The district includes North Deering and part of Falmouth.

A number of other legislators representing Portland are not facing competition this year. Sens. Heather Sanborn and Ben Chipman are uncontested as are Reps. Mike Brennan (House District 36), Mike Sylvester (House District 39) and Rachel Talbot Ross (House District 40).

Incumbent House District 42 Rep. Benjamin Collings is not running against a challenger in the Democratic primary, but will face Republican Susan Abercrombie and Green Party member Carolyn Silvius in the general election.

The ballot will also ask voters if they support the Portland Schools budget for fiscal year 2021, which runs through June 30. The $119.86 million budget is up $2.5 million, or 2.1%, over the current year’s budget, but does not increase the tax rate.

The local referendum question will ask voters if they support forming a charter commission to revise the city charter. Fair Elections Portland wants to revise the charter to form a fund for candidates for City Council and the Portland Board of Education. A charter commission is needed to revise the charter.

The two state referendums will ask voters to approve a $15 million bond to expand high-speed internet infrastructure to unserved or underserved parts of the state and to approve a $105 million bond to improve highways, bridges and marine, railroad or aviation transit facilities statewide.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots must be returned before polls close.

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