WASHINGTON (AP) — Maine voters will decide the fate of eight statewide ballot measures in an election Tuesday, including a proposal to ban foreign influence on elections and another that would dismantle the state’s two largest electric utilities.
Question 2 asks voters to ban foreign governments and entities they “own, control, or influence” from making campaign contributions in candidate elections or ballot measures. The move is in response to the $22 million a Canadian utility called Hydro Quebec spent to influence the outcome of a previous Maine referendum election in which the utility had a financial interest.
Question 3 would shutter two privately owned electric utilities called Central Maine Power and Versant Power and replace them with a nonprofit entity called Pine Tree Power, which would be run by an elected board. Supporters of the proposal have criticized the private utilities for poor performance and high rates. Opponents say the proposal to buy out the existing utilities comes with too high a price tag — $13.5 billion.
Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:
Maine will hold a statewide referendum election on Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.
WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT
The Associated Press will provide coverage for eight statewide ballot measures labeled Questions 1 through 8.
WHO GETS TO VOTE
All voters registered in Maine may participate in the election. Voters may register in person on Election Day. The deadline to register by mail was Oct. 17.
The Associated Press does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.
Maine does not have automatic recounts, but voters can request one for a statewide ballot question by getting at least 200 registered voters to sign a petition within eight business days after the election. The state will pay for the recount if the margin between the yes and the no votes is 1% or less of the total votes cast, or not more than 1,000 votes, whichever is less.
WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE
As of November 2022, there were 1.1 million voters registered in Maine. Of those, 36% are Democrats, 28% are Republicans and 32% are independents. Turnout for the 2021 referendum election was 36% of registered voters. In the 2019 referendum election, it was 18%.
As of Wednesday, more than 56,000 voters had cast ballots before Election Day, 47% from Democrats, 26% from Republicans and 23% from voters not affiliated with any party. In the 2021 referendum election, 27% of the vote was cast before Election Day.
HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?
In the 2022 general election, the AP first reported results at 8:08 p.m. ET, or eight minutes after polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 3:22 a.m. ET with about 83% of total votes counted.