Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 5, 2020 and Island Ad-Vantages, March 5, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, March 5, 2020
Death closes polls in Blue Hill, other issues affect voting
Towns run out of primary ballots
by Anne Berleant and Leslie Landrigan
Polling across peninsula and island towns was not without drama Election Day, March 3. In Blue Hill, the polls closed for about 75 minutes after a voter died shortly after his ballot was counted. Maine State Police had not yet released the man’s name by press time.
“The ambulance [crew] said to clear the room,” Registrar of Voters Etta Perkins said. “[Town Administrator] Shawna Ambrose called Augusta [and was told] we had to relocate and get them open as soon as we could.” Three ballot clerks moved the entire polling operation from the second to the first floor of town hall.
Blue Hill also ran out of Democratic primary ballots, as did Penobscot, Castine and Deer Isle—twice.
But plenty of people across the peninsula and island cast their votes on Super Tuesday, with high turnout causing some towns to run out of Democratic primary ballots.
“We ran out of ballots hours ago,” said Deer Isle Town Clerk Heather Cormier around 6 p.m.
For those towns, clerks had to get permission from the Secretary of State to use absentee ballots and then, if those ran out, photocopy ballots. Those ballots all had to be hand counted.
Voting turn out held steady throughout the day, town clerks said, with Deer Isle ballot clerk Kelly Pratt pointing to the warm weather and sunshine that may have helped bring out voters.