State officials and local clerks are preparing for some Mainers to vote in the dark Tuesday.

A powerful wind and rainstorm Monday morning knocked out power to 484,000 customers, according to officials from the state’s two largest power companies. Central Maine Power and Emera Maine reported that a total of about 50,000 customers still were without power Friday night.

Crews are working around the clock to restore electricity, and both companies expect the majority of customers will have power back by Saturday night. So town halls and community centers and schools should be lit up for voters come Election Day.

But Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is taking no chances.

“This is the beauty of using paper ballots,” Dunlap said. “If there’s no power in the town and they have to vote in the fire station and they have to use a flashlight and a wooden ballot box, well, we can do that.”

Dunlap said he receives hourly updates on restoration efforts across the state. Should any towns be without power Tuesday, their ballots will be counted by hand, which could delay results but would still be valid. He couldn’t say how many polling places were still without power Friday afternoon, but he said his worry has somewhat subsided.


“I’m less worried about that than I was on Wednesday,” Dunlap said.

Still, the power outage has local officials scrambling to prepare the polls. The state prints ballots, but town and city clerks print their own voter lists. The Secretary of State’s Office is trying to connect clerks who don’t have power with clerks who do.

Bath City Clerk Mary White said her office was out of power for three days. The staff went back to work Thursday, only to lose electricity for 30 minutes that afternoon.

“It was panicville here for a good half hour,” said White, who is president of the Maine Town and City Clerk’s Association.

But she was breathing easier Friday because she was able to finish her election preparation. She also opened her doors to her colleagues in other communities who needed WiFi and a working printer. The clerk from nearby Arrowsic took her up on the offer, White said.

“She felt much better, much calmer when she left,” White said. “Those who are up have been offering their help to those in outlying areas who might not be up and running yet.”


In nearly 18 years as a clerk, White said she has never been worried she wouldn’t have power on Election Day.

“This is the first time,” she said.

Voters can find contact information for local officials, polling places and ballot information on

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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