Political News

Low turnout as Mainers vote on bond issue, local elections

Posted June 13

— Low voter turnout Tuesday made it difficult to project the outcome of a $50 million bond that was the sole measure on the statewide ballot.

The bond issue called for the Maine Technology Institute to distribute $45 million in grants for upgrades in aquaculture, marine technology, forestry and agriculture. The Small Enterprise Growth Fund would direct the remaining $5 million to qualifying small businesses in fields including marine sciences, biotechnology and manufacturing.

Bond proposal spokesman Mike Saxl said he anticipated voter turnout of 10 percent or less. He said the low turnout made it virtually impossible to predict the outcome even though Maine residents generally favor bond proposals.

The conventional wisdom suggests so-called reliable voters, who are older and more conservative, have greater influence in a low-turnout election. But it's unclear what that might mean for the bond proposal.

Clerks have three days to report their unofficial tallies to the state secretary of state's office.

Local referendums and local elections also were on ballots. In Brunswick, residents were deciding on a $37 million school budget and proposal to build a new school. Farmingdale voters were set to decide whether to ban retail marijuana businesses.

The election went smoothly for the most part. But a bomb threat at the high school where voting was taking place in Lincoln forced the evacuation of voters along with voting boxes and voting machines for a time, said Kristen Schulze Muszynski, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. The polling place reopened after a bomb squad from Bangor declared the building safe, she said.

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