AP NEWS

City officials apologize for election lines and congestion

March 5, 2020 GMT

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — City officials in Maine have issued an apology after criticism of the long lines and congestion during presidential primary voting.

Voting was held at the former Longley Elementary School on Tuesday on the same street as Androscoggin Bank Colisee, where high school hockey playoff games were held, the Sun Journal reported Wednesday.

Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said Longley was selected as the city’s lone polling location before officials were aware of the hockey tournament.

“Once we became aware of the conflict last week, it was impossible to legally change the voting location,” Barrett said.

Barrett said the congestion increased when the first hockey game went into triple overtime, leading to fans for the second game arriving before fans for the previous game left.

“We will take care in the future to limit situations where there are conflicts between voting and events at the Colisee. Again, we apologize to anyone who faced difficulties or inconvenience when coming to vote last evening,” Barrett said.

City Clerk Kathy Montejo says she decided to use Longley as the lone location based on a 15% voter turnout projection from the Secretary of State.

Tuesday was the first time Mainers used a primary system for the presidential race in two decades.