BANGOR – Despite the fact that Election Day is less than two weeks away, the telephones at City Hall have been strangely quiet, City Clerk Patti Dubois said Wednesday.
And after an initial rush, pre-election activity at the Bangor Civic Center also has slowed down.
As of Wednesday, about 2,200 of the city’s 22,000 registered voters, or 10 percent, have requested absentee ballots, allowing them to cast their votes at their own convenience.
“It was really busy initially, but it’s really tapered off,” Dubois said.
“What I’m afraid of is that everyone will wait until the last minute. I’m trying to encourage people who don’t want to wait in line to vote early,” she said. “It might just be a nudge that people need.”
Among the highlights of the Nov. 7 elections will be a five-way race for governor, a decision on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, citizen-initiated referendum and City Council and school committee contests.
As part of the city’s effort to streamline elections, the number of voting places has been halved, dropping from eight to four, namely:
. Bangor Civic Center on Dutton Street.
. Bangor Community Center on Davis Road.
. Bangor High School on Broadway.
. William S. Cohen Middle School on Garland Street.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 7.
In addition, absentee or early voting has shifted from City Hall to the Civic Center, which since Oct. 16 has been specially staffed and equipped from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays for pre-election activities, including absentee voting.
The Civic Center also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 4, the last Saturday before Election Day.
With a gubernatorial election, the annual City Council and school committee races and the controversial TABOR referendum on the ballot, however, voter turnout is expected to be heavy.
But this year, that does not necessarily mean a long wait for results.
For the first time, Dubois said, election results will be posted on the city’s Web site, www.bangormaine.gov, as soon as they are called in from the four polling places.
Dubois said she got the idea from Bangor Democrats, who posted operatives at each polling place in the last November election. The party representatives then passed the tallies on to their Web master, who posted them on the Internet.
“If they were able to do it, why shouldn’t we?” Dubois noted.
Barring any unforeseen snags, Dubois said, election results could be available by as early as 9 p.m., an hour after the polls close.
That is because election workers at each of the four polling places will process absentee ballots throughout Election Day. That function used to take place after the polls close, in a backroom at City Hall.
To request an absentee ballot or for more information about city voting procedures, call City Hall at 992-4200.