Tuesday, 04 December 2018 22:10

Bangor city officials explain Election Day issues Featured

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BANGOR - It may seem like a while ago now, but Bangor city officials are looking into how Election Day went.


Officials said Election Day went smoothly overall, but there were issues with a broken machine and long lines, which the city clerk said were due to ranked choice voting.


So if you feel like you waited in line longer this time through at the Cross Insurance Center, you might be right.


Bangor City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said one of their voting machines went down around 7 a.m. and did not get fixed until almost 7 p.m. that night. That left only three working machines for the state ballots.


"Because of the ranked choice and the way that was programmed, the city couldn't piggy back with the state's ballot on their programming, we had to keep them separate," said Goodwin.


Wait times were greatest from four to eight in the evening.


To alleviate lines, poll workers used a deposit box option, for voters to drop off their ballots to be counted later.


While some have expressed concern over wait times at recent council meetings, councilors said they have gotten mostly positive feedback about the process.


"I don't know of anyone who turned away, or said 'oh my gosh I'm not going to vote because it's such a hassle to do so'", said Bangor City Councilor Clare Davitt. "I do think it might push people more towards early voting and absentee next year."


This year, early voting and absentee went well, according to Goodwin, with about 6,000 absentee votes cast.


She said this gubernatorial race saw a 54 percent turnout of active voters, a few hundred more than the last midterms.


And it wasn't just Bangor that had to wait for a polling machine technician.


"It wasn't any different around the state," said Goodwin. "Municipalities all over the state had long lines. I talked to one community the people were working two to three hours to get through the voting place."


The ranked choice ballots also meant more spoiled ballots this time, meaning people filled them out wrong and needed a new one.


There has also been talk of having multiple voting sites, as opposed to just one at the Cross Insurance Center.


The city clerk said multiple sites would be a step backward for the city, because of logistical issues.


Ultimately, officials said this was a good way to learn and regroup for next time.


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...

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