Women’s rights, inflation and the economy were priorities for central Mainers who flocked to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots on Election Day.

The parking lot was busy at Waterville Junior High School where Democratic Gov. Janet Mills stood outside chatting with voters, opposite former Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s sister-in-law, Tammy Brown, who was running for House District 65.

Colby College senior Kassie Brink, 21, said the big issue for her was abortion rights and she voted for Mills.

“I voted because I know I want to make a difference and have my choices be out there,” Brink said. “That (abortion) has always been something I’ve been concerned about. I think everyone should be able to have a choice. I think it’s very important.”

In Skowhegan, Glenn Steuber, 58, a small business owner, said he voted for LePage for governor because he thinks the Republican can help a Republican president and restore the country’s respect around the world.

“I’m a very strong Republican and one of my biggest issues is the border,” Steuber said.


Skowhegan Town Clerk Gail Pelotte said nearly 1,200 people had voted by absentee ballot, though she had expected more than that. The town has 4,690 registered voters, according to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, with more than 1,700 of them registered as Republican, nearly 1,500 as Democrat, and another 1,300 unenrolled or in third parties.

For Jeanne Shay of Skowhegan, maintaining democracy was a priority.

“I think it’s important that we keep Democrats in power because I think that Republicans are really working to undermine the voting process nationally,” said Shay, 73.

A long line forms Tuesday at Waterville Junior High School as residents wait to cast their ballots. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

She also said she supports women’s right to an abortion and Mills would continue to ensure that.

“I think she did an excellent job in the pandemic,” Shay said. “She has been very middle of the road in many areas. She hasn’t gone after gun rights. She makes an effort to work with everyone and not hit the hot-button issues. I think that in the debates she was clear, calm, cool and never did any name-calling.”

In Oakland, the parking lot at the fire station was full shortly after 7 a.m. as Landon St. Peter, 67, headed in to vote.


“Maine is in serious trouble,” he said. “We’re on the slide and heading downhill. I’m voting for Paul LePage. He seems to have a better economic program than the clowns down in Augusta right now.”

St. Peter said he is concerned about inflation and heating costs and he thinks LePage would address those issues.

“I don’t know what people are going to do this winter,” he said. “I think he’s got a good chance. I’m hopeful.”

In Fairfield, 65-year-old Kim Quirion exited the community center and said she voted for Mills, whom she described as “an awesome governor.”

Asked what issues drew her to the polls, Quirion said, “The big deal for me is democracy and women’s rights — they’re both at the top.”

Zach Hamlin, 28, also of Fairfield, called himself a “big Republican” and said he probably would vote for LePage, whom he believes would lower taxes and help fix the economy and inflation.


“I have kids who go to school right now and money is a little tighter than normal,” Hamlin said.

He also said he was voting in support of an article to build a school in Benton for students in third through sixth grade.

A voter receives a ballot Tuesday at the Skowhegan Municipal Building on Water Street. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Fairfield Town Clerk Christine Keller said voter turnout was steady throughout the day Tuesday, with nearly 1,200 people voting by 4 p.m. Election clerks had processed about 860 absentee ballots, she said.

In Winslow, the parking lot was packed at the McCrillis Rousseau Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8835 as Kay Ann Michaud, 75, exited the polls. She said elected officials have to do something about the cost of groceries.

“I go shopping once every three weeks and every time I go in the prices have gone up,” she said. “I voted for Mills because I think she has done a good job the last four years. I’m just tired of the mud-slinging. She did a wonderful job with COVID. My feeling about abortion is, it is up to the person. I believe she will protect women’s rights because she already has.”

Like Michaud, Elizabeth Hill and Sam Underwood, both 31, of Waterville, said they want to see women’s rights protected in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and said they voted for Mills.


“I’m concerned about the situation with Roe vs. Wade and the Supreme Court; I’m concerned about the control of the House and Senate,” said Underwood, a philosophy professor at Husson University in Bangor.

Hill, a visiting philosophy instructor at Colby, said she and Underwood had lived in Newfoundland, Canada, for five years and moved to the U.S. just as Roe vs. Wade was overturned.

At least one voter interviewed Tuesday wasn’t so clear on how to vote.

Lisa Madore, 51, of Oakland, said she was struggling with the abortion issue, believes the state should be more conservative with the budget and didn’t know exactly how she was going to vote until she got into the voting booth.

“I believe that women have a right, but at the same time there’s got to be a fine line when that’s allowed,” Madore said of the abortion issue. “I’m actually struggling with the (gubernatorial) candidates because I don’t feel like we have a good candidate. It’s a hard one today. I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of person.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.