Voters wait their turn to vote Tuesday at Waterville Junior High School. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

While the question of who will be the next president of the United States has yet to be answered, the 2020 presidential election results across central Maine are in: Former Vice President Joe Biden won Maine’s popular vote and three electoral votes, while President Donald Trump picked up an electoral vote in the 2nd Congressional District.

While we don’t have all of the totals, including blank ballots, we compared the vote totals from the 2016 election and 2020 presidential elections in eight area towns where voters cast at least 3,000 ballots. Turnout across the board was up, in line with statewide and national trends.

“Donald Trump won Kennebec County in 2016, and one of the unique things about this president that people are going to try to emulate is that he has locked up his supporters and that’s not going to waiver,” said Nicholas Jacobs, a visiting assistant professor of government at Colby College. “This is nationwide, that his level of support has largely stayed the same and has not moved since he was first elected in 2016.”

The biggest takeaways: The vast majority of area municipalities stayed with the same party for both elections, and voters from both major political parties turned out in higher numbers. The eight towns with at least 3,000 voters in central Maine split evenly between Biden and Trump majorities, illustrative of how close this race is. As of Thursday afternoon, there was still no clear-cut winner nationally.

“It was very high turnout this election, and of course, presidential elections always are the highest turnout elections,” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a phone interview Thursday. “It went very smoothly. We knew based on the turnout from the primaries that this would be a heavy turnout election.”

Dunlap said gubernatorial elections are the second most popular elections, especially when it’s an open seat and there’s no incumbent.

“People get jazzed up,” Dunlap said.

In most places across the country, voting patterns remain the same or further polarized, Jacob said.

“When thinking about the vote share to different geographies of scale and looking at the states that did flip, we’re looking at a handful of states, the two big ones, Michigan and Wisconsin, have been on the Democratic radar for four years,” Jacobs said. “They’ve been narrowly lost, and they’ll likely be narrowly won.”

The two most heavily populated cities in the region voted Democratic in both elections. Some other larger cities stayed blue, too.

In Augusta, Maine’s capital city, the winner stayed Democratic, but both parties saw an uptick in votes. In 2016 4,396 voters cast ballots for Hillary Clinton and 3,805 votes were cast for Donald Trump. This year, the numbers increased to 5,248 votes for Biden and 4,155 for Trump.

In Gardiner, Biden took the majority with 1,694 votes to Trump’s 1,471. In 2016, Clinton outscored Trump 1,446-1,361.

Waterville voters also came out in higher numbers. In 2016 Clinton received 4,171 votes and Trump got 2,424. This year, Biden received 4,991 votes and Trump 2,619.

Winthrop widened its Democratic majority this year. In 2016, Clinton narrowly edged Trump in a 1,683-1,602 vote. In 2020, Biden topped Trump by a wider margin, 1,963-1,649.

Similar results were reported in larger towns that voted for a Trump majority in both 2016 and 2020.

Fairfield voters cast 1,845 votes for Trump and 1,428 for Biden. In 2016, there were 1,250 votes for Clinton and 1,745 for Trump.

This year, Oakland voters supported Trump 1,853-1,681. In 2016, Trump outdrew Clinton 1,715-1,442.

In Skowhegan this year, Trump got 2,215 votes and Biden 1,876. In 2016, Trump received 2,046 votes and Clinton got 1,674 votes.

Winslow voters this year cast 2,360 votes for Trump and 2,184 for Biden. In 2016, Trump received 2,100 votes, Clinton 1,825.

So, when will we know who won?

“When we will know officially is when any legitimate claims getting levied by the president or the vice president are settled,” Jacobs said. “I’ll tell you this. I went to sleep on Tuesday night pretty sure. … I don’t think we’ve seen any surprises so far, other than Georgia.”

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