BY EMMALEE SAVAGE AND KODY THERIAULT
BANGOR — The Cross Insurance Center was crawling with anxious voters. Polling started early at 7 a.m. and did not close until 8 p.m. By the time the polls closed, it had amounted to a surprising turnout for the city of Bangor.
Crowds flocked into the building after passing many of the “would be” politicians outside. Among the notable were second Congressional district candidates Emily Cain and incumbent nominee Bruce Poliquin. Each candidate stood greeting and thanking the voters for coming out.
During the morning hours, ballots came in fast with a total of 2,859 ballots being cast. By 2 p.m. that count had risen to 4,027. By the time evening arrived, the votes reached 6,280. After the polls had closed at 8 p.m. the count was up to 7,435, however a handful of ballots had yet to be counted after this last update.
When asked about new voter registration early in the election day Michael Gleason, the Deputy Register at the Cross Insurance Center said, “Approximately a quarter of new registers are first time ever [voters].”
When the polls came to a close, Gleason estimated the total voter turnout had increased by at least 50% since the last election, “I think it’s the whole dynamic of this election. There’s been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of voting.”
The presidential race was not the only hot issue being discussed across Maine this morning. Down the ballot had an extremely tight race over the second Congressional district, Emily Cain and incumbent Bruce Poliquin. As of 2:15 a.m. Poliquin held a 9% lead over Cain with 83% of the vote reporting.
When asked how important she feels this election was to vote in, first time voter Michaella Warren said, “I feel that it’s pretty important. It falls in the hands of the voters.”
While previous voter, Heather Winkler says, “I think it’s very important, more important than past elections. I think it’s one of the biggest in history.”
While the ballots are still being counted, it is undeniable that this election has brought out an incredible amount of voters to the polls. The nation’s eye’s might be focused on the presidential race, however, it is the down ballot issues in Maine that are truly hanging on for the last ballots to be counted.