Over 50,000 Mainers – more than 5 percent of the state’s registered voters – cast early-voting ballots before Election Day, according to data from the Maine Secretary of State.

Without high-profile presidential or legislative races, early voting traffic in 2017 lagged far behind the pace set in 2016, when record numbers of voters cast early-voting ballots. But early voting totals for 2017 were more than double the total number of early votes in 2015, the last off-year election in Maine, when a total of 23,664 early voting ballots were cast statewide.

Some high-profile local referendums may have helped increase early voting rates above the statewide average in Lewiston and Auburn, where voters will decide on a proposal to merge the two cities, and in Portland, where voters will decide whether to enact ordinances to regulate rent increases and zoning decisions.

In both Lewiston and Auburn, more than 11 percent of each city’s registered voters cast early ballots (2,942 voters from Lewiston, and 1,754 voters from Auburn).

In Portland, 3,732 early-voting ballots had been accepted as of Monday. That figure represents about 6.6 percent of the city’s registered voting population.

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