LAKES REGION — Secretary of State Matt Dunlap on Monday certified the results of the Nov. 3 election, which saw historically high numbers of absentee voting across the Lakes Region, Maine and the nation.

In the Lakes Region, 63% of all votes cast in this year’s election were by mail, compared to just 34% in the 2016 presidential election.

In some towns, the number of absentee ballot requests more than doubled over 2016. In all towns, more than 90% of all absentee ballots were returned and accepted.

Gray Registrar of Voters Kailey Hanley said, “We knew we had to be extremely organized” for ballot processing, “which definitely helped the day flow effortlessly.”

Of the towns where voter turnout data was available, Bridgton had the lowest turnout at 67%, which was lower than it was in 2016, and Windham had the highest with 81%. Voter turnout was between 70% and 76% in Gray, Naples, Raymond, Sebago and Standish.

Naples’ registrar Kim Thomson said she saw a lot of people in their early 20s coming out to register on Election Day. Some 70% of the town’s registered voters cast their ballots Nov. 3, just under half of which were by absentee.

The total number of registered voters, necessary to calculate voter turnout, was not available for Casco and New Gloucester.

Towns’ voter rolls were due to the state Wednesday.

“I think all things taken into consideration, it was a fabulous day,” said Standish Town Clerk Mary Chapman.

An executive order from the governor allowed municipalities to start processing ballots up to seven days before Election Day. Town clerks said this was a major help. Above, election clerks at the Windham Town Council chambers on Oct. 27. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly file photo

“When I went out to get the doors open at about 6 (a.m.), I was blown away by the number of people waiting to get in to vote,” Chapman said. “That was just terrific to see that, especially with the times.”

Bridgton saw the largest increase in absentee ballot requests this year – more than 200% than in 2016.

Deputy Town Clerk Suzzanah Forsythe said that all of the ballots were counted by 11 p.m. Election Day, a feat in a typical election.

Sebago Town Clerk Maureen Scanlon was the only official interviewed by the Lakes Region Weekly who reported an issue with the ballot counting machines, but said that the state was “absolutely wonderful” in quickly resolving any problems.

“All in all, if nobody got sick that day, I did my job,” she said.

Over in Windham, Town Clerk Linda Morrell said that the early processing of ballots – up to seven days before, per the governor’s executive order – was a major help for the election clerks going through nearly 9,000 absentee ballots, double the amount requested in 2016.

“It was not your typical presidential Election Day in terms of long lines, which was due to all the people voting absentee,” Morrell said. “All the hard work the weeks before the election made for a much easier and calmer Election Day.”

Overall, 11,600 individuals cast their ballots, or 81% of the electorate.

Of the towns where voter turnout data was available, Raymond saw the largest percentage increase compared to 2016.

Seventy-six percent of the electorate, or 3,177 individuals, cast their vote on Nov. 3, a 6% increase from 2016. Absentee ballots accounted for 1,789 of those votes, twice the amount as in 2016.

Like in the other towns, there was a rush first thing in the morning on Election Day, said Town Clerk Sue Look, but things calmed down fairly quickly.

“The election clerks did a phenomenal job, especially considering that more than half were new this year,” she said. “We were all cleaned up at the school by 10:30 p.m.”

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