Maine Voters Head to Polls Today to Decide on President, Senator, Gay Marriage
Maine voters will head to the polls today to help decide who will be the next president, while Democrat Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney barnstorm through swing states in the final hours of the campaign.
The polls in Bangor are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Bangor Civic Center. For other polling locations, the state of Maine's voter information lookup is a helpful resource. You just type in your address and your polling information will be displayed.
In Bangor, elections officials reported steady turnout as thousands of people streamed through the doors of the Civic Center to cast their ballots in what has at times been a contentious election marked by an abundance of negative ads.
"All the rhetoric on TV, it was getting like, you know, 'Who's telling the biggest lie?'" said one voter outside the Brewer Auditorium, where City Clerk Howard Krull also reported steady turnout with a couple hundred voters lined up outside the doors before the polls opened.
One of those Brewer voters, Molly Stophski, was taking part in her first election, a civic duty she said has been an enduring family tradition.
"I feel like you're not really American if you don't, so I felt the need to vote," said Stophski, adding that she wasn't necessarily going to vote the same way as her parents. "I feel like I get to have a say."
While the top of the ticket is expected to drive voter turnout upwards of 75 percent in Maine, voters here will also decide who will replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe. The race features three major candidates including former independent Maine Gov. Angus King, Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill and Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers.
Maine's two congressional seats are also in play. In the 1st District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree of North Haven faces a challenge from Republican Jonathan Courtney of Sanford. In the 2nd District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of East Millinocket faces Kevin Raye, a Republican from Perry.
Mainers will also weigh in on Question 1, which asks "Do you want to allow the state of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples?" The vote comes three years after Maine voters rejected a gay marriage law passed by the Legislature. Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in four states.
If you intend to register to vote at the polls, you will need to bring a form of identification such as a driver's license and something with your current address such as a utility bill. If your driver's license has your current address, that will fulfill both requirements. If you are already registered to vote, you don't need that documentation, but you will be asked to confirm your address.
Polls already have closed in two small New Hampshire towns. The first ballots were cast in the Dixville Notch shortly after midnight, with five people voting for Obama and five for Romney. In Hart's Location, Obama beat Romney 23-9.
News Director Craig Colson contributed to this report.