President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won Maine’s presidential primaries Tuesday, further solidifying leads in their respective parties and the likelihood of a rematch of the 2020 election.

The Associated Press declared the winners roughly 30 minutes after polls closed. With 19% of votes counted at 9:40 p.m., Trump received about 72% of the vote in the Republican primary, compared to 27% for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

In the Democratic primary, Biden had received 93% of the vote compared to 7% for U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota.

The results came even as many Maine voters opted to skip their trip to the polls for Tuesday’s presidential primary. Across central Maine, clerks and election workers said turnout was slow and light throughout the day, with no lines or waiting at most polling places.

Because primaries determine who will represent a political party ahead of a general election, voting has traditionally been restricted to voters enrolled in political parties. But this year Maine has semi-open primaries for the first time, which allow unenrolled voters to cast a partisan vote.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said the low turnout was not a surprise.


“Less than 5% of registered voters turned out early to vote absentee,” said Bellows, who visited polling locations in the Kennebec County communities of Augusta and China on Tuesday, among other stops.

Augusta City Clerk and Registrar of Voters Kelly Gooldrup, left, chats Tuesday with Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows in the Augusta Ward 2 polling place at Augusta City Center. City clerks reported light turnout during Maine’s 2024 presidential primary vote. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

It was not clear what impact on the turnout allowing unenrolled voters would have. They make up one-third of the state’s registered voters.

Maine was one of the states voting on Super Tuesday, in which 13 states were holding presidential primaries and two states were holding caucuses to choose the major party nominees for November’s general election.

In Whitefield, Philip and Barbara Russell stopped by the polling place at the Whitefield Fire Department, where they said they voted for Haley.

“I don’t like the (Republican) choice, and I don’t like the other choice (Biden), so how could this be any worse?” Philip Russell said about his choice.

By noontime, about 130 voters in that northern Lincoln County town had cast ballots.


The Russells say they never miss a chance to vote. “We have voted for years,” Phillip Russell said. “We wouldn’t be able to complain if we didn’t.”

Kate Farmer said she shares the Russells’ opinion on voting.

“I want to be able to make a choice and not leave it up to other people,” Farmer said, declining to disclose who she cast a vote for. “It’s my duty.”

For Carol Schumaker, a longtime Gardiner election clerk, the election was just one more that she has staffed.

Gardiner election clerk Carol Schumaker, 86, hands out an “I voted today” sticker to a resident who cast a ballot during Tuesday’s presidential primary election at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Now 86, she was hired to help out at the polls 24 years ago shortly after she relocated to Gardiner from Massachusetts. On Tuesday, she spent her time monitoring the voting machine at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley at its Pray Street building and handing out “I voted!” stickers.

“I love the people and getting to talk to them,” Schumaker said.


But she didn’t have many to talk to on Tuesday.

Gardiner City Clerk Kathleen Cutler said voters stopped by in a steady trickle, with anywhere from three to 10 votes cast hourly.

Bellows, who started her day in the Portland area with stops in Yarmouth, South Portland and Portland, went on to Auburn before returning to central Maine.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, left, chats with Ward 2 warden Barbara Vines during her visit Tuesday in the Augusta Ward 2 polling place at Augusta City Center. City clerks reported light turnout during Maine’s 2024 presidential primary voting. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“In 2022, Maine was No. 1 in the nation in voter participation (with 75% of registered voters turning out),” she said Tuesday. “We’re certainly not seeing anything like that today. But we anticipate as we move forward in 2024, in June and November that we will see larger turnout.”

For the latest election results, visit

Portland Press Herald staff writer Rachel Ohm, Kennebec Journal staff writer Emily Duggan, Kennebec Journal photographer Joe Phelan and Morning Sentinel photographer Anna Chadwick contributed to this report. 

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