ELLSWORTH — It could be days before the world knows who won the White House, as races in key battleground states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania remained too close to call on Wednesday morning.
But results were clearer in Hancock County. With all 37 municipalities reporting, former Vice President Joe Biden edged out President Donald Trump, capturing 54.8 percent of the vote to Trump’s 42.5 percent. A total of 19,362 county residents cast a vote for Biden, while 14,972 cast a vote for Trump. That was in line with early statewide results. With 85 percent of the vote in on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press called Maine for Biden.
Hancock County voters favored Republican Sen. Susan Collins over Democratic challenger Sara Gideon in the closely watched race for U.S. Senate. Collins received 49.2 percent of the vote in the county, while Gideon got 43.6 percent. Independents Lisa Savage and Max Linn trailed far behind, with 5 and 2 percent of the vote, respectively.
Collins won Maine’s high-profile U.S. Senate race on Wednesday, according to the Portland Press Herald, defeating Democrat Sara Gideon in a contest that saw unprecedented spending as part of the national battle for control in Washington.
In a speech to supporters outside of a Bangor hotel, Collins said Gideon had called her to concede the hard-fought race. Unofficial election results show Collins leading Gideon 51 percent to 42 percent with 85 percent of precincts reporting.
In the race for the Second Congressional District, Hancock County voters chose incumbent Democratic Congressman Jared Golden over Dale Crafts. Golden received 61.5 percent of the vote in Hancock County, while Crafts got 38.5 percent. Statewide, Golden led Crafts on Wednesday morning with 53 percent of the vote to Crafts’ 47 percent.
Voting day went smoothly, said local election officials. Turnout was strong across the county, from Amherst (80 percent) to Winter Harbor (66 percent). The total for the county as a whole was 74 percent, slightly more than in the 2016 election. Great Pond topped the list, with 93 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Only three of the town’s 46 registered voters declined to do so. Turnout was lowest in Castine, with 47 percent of registered voters (501 out of 1,069) casting a ballot.
“We had a really amazing turnout of voters this year,” said Andrea Sirois, town manager in Gouldsboro, which saw turnout around 70 percent.
“We had 47 new voter registrations day of,” she said, with steady voting throughout the day but none of the long lines seen elsewhere in the country.
Bucksport Town Clerk Jacob Gran had a similar experience.
“It was steady,” said Gran, although not as busy as the 2016 election, “mainly because we’d had 1,400 absentee ballots already processed.”
Gran said the town also saw a number of new voter registrations. “It went really smoothly. Our staff did really well keeping the flow going.”
In Blue Hill, Deputy Clerk Lyndsey Dow also processed a number of new voter registrations but said other than a morning rush, voters were quickly in and out.
“We had mostly absentee ballots,” said Dow. “It wasn’t chaotic at all.” Blue Hill saw some of the highest numbers of absentee ballots cast locally.
Most voters who had requested an absentee ballot had turned them in by Friday, local officials said.
Ellsworth City Clerk Heidi Grindle said the percentage of absentee ballots cast in the city was around 50 percent of all ballots cast, a similar figure to the 2016 election, although many voters requested the ballots much earlier this year.
Grindle gave “kudos to the post office” for dropping off two mailed ballots after 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
“They brought them after hours for us,” said Grindle. “They wouldn’t have made it otherwise.” She added: “Somebody went out of their way to make sure those ballots got cast.”