City and town officials across Kennebec County reported high voter turnout and steady traffic Tuesday, with some reports of long lines and one instance of a ballot scanning machine malfunctioning in Augusta.

In Augusta’s Ward 2, which is at city center, the electronic ballot scanning machine malfunctioned around 4 p.m., said Clerk Roberta Fogg. She called a technician to service the machine and had been assured that it would be fixed in time to count ballots late Tuesday night.

Augusta officials said voters were placing their ballots into boxes, which is speeding up the voting process. Fogg said the machine would count the ballot and then give an error message saying the machine was jammed.

“I expect to use the machine to count no matter what time the technician arrives,” Fogg said about 6 p.m.

In Waterville, election warden Roland Hallee said about 1,900 people had voted between 7 a.m. and noon in the city. Adding about 2,800 absentee ballots, that means the city had some 4,700 votes cast so far — about 40 percent of the city’s nearly 11,000 registered voters. Hallee estimated voter turnout could be around 70 percent when the polls close.

“The only one I can think of that closely resembles this one was the first Obama election,” Hallee said. “It was pretty much similar to today, but the pace we’re on right now, I think we’re going to beat that.”


Hallee said the voting process had been smooth, without any problems, and that about 100 people had registered to vote at the polls.

Around noon, more than 75 people were in line in Augusta’s Ward 1, at the Augusta State Armory, and several people said the whole process took more than an hour. The problem seemed to be the electronic machines used to scan the ballots, and with only one at each polling place, poll workers expected the lines to only get longer.

A long wait didn’t bother Brittany Ross, 27, of Augusta, who was excited to cast “a historic vote for Hillary Clinton.”

At the armory, people were lined up at 6:30 Tuesday morning in anticipation of the 7 a.m. polls opening, and the traffic was steady throughout the day. Gary Peachey, 57, said it took him about 90 minutes to vote, and he thinks it’s important to do a service to the “people fighting for our freedom by casting a vote.”

None of the people working the polls in Gardiner, Augusta’s Ward 1 or Hallowell said there had been any questions or concerns from voters about the integrity of the process or the fairness of the election.

“I’ve always felt that the people running the elections are doing their jobs and there hasn’t been anything underhanded going on,” said Ross, the Augusta voter.


Voters across the nation on Tuesday voted for president and members of Congress; and in Maine, on citizen initiative ballot measures, legislative races and local contests appeared on ballots.

Gardiner Mayor Thom Harnett, who was running unopposed for re-election, said voting traffic was steady at the Gardiner Area Boys & Girls Club since polls opened at 8 a.m., but he did wonder where all the younger voters were.

Garrett Brown, 18, of Gardiner, said it was his civic duty to vote and he expected plenty of his classmates at Cony High School to do the same today.

“I’ve gone with my mom to vote before, and I plan on voting in every election,” Brown said. “The other 18-year-olds I know are definitely right-leaning, and we have a Trump sign in the senior lounge (at Cony) that had to be taken down.”

Lisa Gilliam, Gardiner’s clerk, said she expected record turnout in Gardiner, especially after having 200 people come through and vote in the first hour. She didn’t foresee any slowdown in voter traffic as the day progressed. She said a lull would allow the poll workers to catch up.

“It’s been going smoothly and everybody has been patient, which is a good thing,” Gilliam said. “I was concerned that there could be some issues popping up because everybody is passionate about their candidates, but everybody knows how important this is, so they are being very patient with us.”


Ross thinks that the ballot questions about gun control and marijuana were affecting turnout.

“It seems to compel people to come out who may not have,” Ross said. “I think the presidential election alone should be motivation enough to come out and vote, but I suspect think these issues are motivating some people who would not otherwise vote.”

Fayette officials said they already had seen 310 people come through Starling Hall by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, and the officials expected turnout to be around 80 percent of registered voters. Readfield clerk Robin Lint expected a similar percentage in her town and said the Town Office “hasn’t had a time yet where not one person” was there.

The day didn’t get off to a great start for Readfield, however. Lint said the electronic machine malfunctioned when attempting to scan the first ballot of the day, so it had to go through a power cycle before it was operating normally. The malfunction delayed voters by about 15 to 20 minutes, Lint said, and there were no problems after early Tuesday morning.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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