The rank voting choice “run-off” started almost two hours later this morning than anticipated (at 10:00 am) because of the increase in the number of people who voted in the first mayoral election in almost ninety years. The city had expected about a 20% – 25% turnout in voters according to Nicole Clegg, city spokesperson. That number was based on the low number of absentee ballots the city received. However, as about mid-night last night, 39% of the city’s voters actually voted. (About 19,500 voted in the election.) That increase in the number of voters created much more work for the city clerk’s office who did not finish it’s work until after midnight this am.
That in turn did not make it possible for TrueBallot, the company hired for $22,000 to run the rank choice voting process, to set up and begin work in the State of Maine Room, City Hall until just before 10 am – several hours later than scheduled. Members of the TrueBallot team began arriving yesterday at city hall from all over the country – from Michigan, Maryland, Massacchusetts, etc.
Another reason for the delay in the ballot counting involved the paper used in the election which is required by the state. The paper required is not used in laser printers because it is too thick. Thus, the regularly used paper causes smears on the digital equipment. That requires the operator to stop from time to time to clean the screen with Windix. That adds at least l hr. or more to the process.
Several of the fifteen candidates visited election headquarters earlier today: Councilor David Marshall, Ethan Strimling and Jed Ratband.
It’s expected that the results will be finalized between 6 and 7 pm tonight.