PORTLAND — Despite fewer absentee ballots, Maine election officials say polling places are busy and that voter turnout will be similar to four years ago.

Spokeswoman Megan Sanborn from the secretary of state’s office says local officials from across the state are reporting a strong turnout on Election Day.

Voters were deciding the state’s next U.S. senator, the presidential race and gay marriage. Also on the ballot were U.S. House and legislative races and $76 million worth of state bonds.

A total of 188,180 ballots were requested this year. That’s far less than in 2008, when nearly 240,000 votes were cast via absentee ballots.

Sanborn says the estimate is for overall turnout in the range of 65 to 75 percent. Four years ago 70 percent of voting-age residents voted in Maine.

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