Critics say there is no evidence to support former Gov. Paul LePage’s recent assertion that tallying votes in Maine’s larger communities, including Lewiston, may be flawed.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

LePage, the Republican gubernatorial contender, told supporters he has “great confidence in small towns” in Maine running a fair election “because usually the clerks know everybody.”

“I have less confidence when you get to Bangor, Rockland, Lewiston, Portland, South Portland,” LePage said on audio released by the Maine Democratic Party from a recent GOP event in Mount Vernon. “Those are areas you got to be a little bit more careful.”

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, responded on Twitter by insisting that “our clerks work hard to make sure Maine elections are free, fair and secure” with “strong chain-of-custody protections, checks and balances, and a paper ballot to protect against fraud.”

Shenna Bellows Submitted photo

“To suggest otherwise is a lie,” Bellows said.

First-term Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who LePage hopes to defeat in November, said during a recent stop in Lewiston that there’s no reason for concern about tallying votes properly in any Maine community.


She said Maine has “the best system” possible to ensure that ballots are counted accurately, with “high-integrity” clerks and election workers, careful monitoring and backup methods in place.

In her many years as a prosecutor, attorney general and governor, Mills said there has been “no indication of any widespread fraud” anywhere in the state, including Lewiston and other larger cities.

The other gubernatorial contender, independent Sam Hunkler, said Wednesday that he agrees with LePage’s take on small communities like his hometown of Beals “where clerks usually know voters,” and there are four or five monitors from both parties in place to oversee ballot counts.

Sam Hunkler Submitted photo

“I really cannot speak about the process in larger towns,” Hunkler said, “though the potential for mistakes increases the more complicated and larger the process becomes.”

“Overall, however, I have very little concern about the integrity of Maine’s voting system,” Hunkler said.

LePage has often over the years made comments expressing skepticism about the reliability of election results in Maine and beyond.


He’s alluded to buses bringing people in from out-of-state, supported former President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and regularly insisted that college students in Maine who come from other states shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the Pine Tree State.

Democrats blasted LePage for his recent comments about voting.

“Paul LePage is correct that the integrity of Maine’s elections is under threat — by him,” Misha Linnehan, spokesperson for state Democrats, said.

“LePage’s comments are actively attempting to undermine faith in our electoral system,” Linnehan said. “The truth is that Maine’s time-tested election infrastructure has delivered accurate results year after year, and there’s nothing LePage can do to prevent Mainers’ voices being heard this November.”

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