BY MICHAEL SHEPHERD

Staff Writer

While voter turnout for Tuesday’s elections was abysmal statewide, central Maine’s core municipalities reported turnout ranging from low to normal.

About 13 percent of Maine’s registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday U.S. Senate primary elections, according to a Portland Press Herald estimate, which used unofficial results from return totals in 95 percent of Maine precincts. The number could climb by Friday, when results are due to the Maine Office of the Secretary of State.

Hallowell, with more than 26.5 percent turnout of registered voters, was the star of several municipalities surveyed on Wednesday. But City Clerk Deanna Hallett said that’s still well below the city’s norm.

“This was a very slow day, but I guess it was better than other towns,” she said.

In Augusta, City Clerk Barbara Wardwell said the city was closer to that mark. Approximately 1,500 of 13,500 registered voters went to the polls, just less than 11.5 percent. “It’s not uncommon, but it depends on the candidates,” Wardwell said.

In 2006’s June election, only 11 percent of voters turned out for a race that decided a Democratic nominee to face U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and a Republican nominee to face Gov. John Baldacci.

Skowhegan Town Clerk Gail Pelotte said 1,240 of the town’s 6,022 voters turned out, just more than 20.5 percent. She said it was low, but higher than it would have been without a municipal election and a budget validation referendum for Regional School Unit 54.

“If it hadn’t been for that who knows what the turnout would have been?” she said.

Waterville City Clerk Patti Dubois reported turnout of 12 percent, calling it pretty typical of June races in the city. Aside from a Democratic primary for the state Senate, “there weren’t many contested races,” she said.

In Belgrade, a tax break for a natural gas pipeline company and the $33 million Regional School Unit 18 budget were up for votes, but turnout was just more than 18 percent of registered voters, according to Deputy Clerk Cheryl Cook. She said that was lower than normal,

Gardiner Deputy Clerk Ruth Glaeser said 19 percent of Gardiner’s voters came out the polls, lower than usual but not unprecedented for June elections in the city.


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