Virus will disrupt Maine vote again; mass shot site closing
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s largest city is preparing for another election that will be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Portland is scheduled for a special municipal election on June 8. The election will concern the Charter Commission and school budget referendum.
City officials are promoting the use of absentee voting, as they did during the 2020 general election. Absentee ballots will become available early this month and provided to voters, officials said.
The last day to request an absentee ballot is June 4. Polls will also open at 7 a.m. on the day of the election, officials said.
Portland officials said polling locations will once again also look different than during a typical year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Voting booths will be spread out and election workers will have plexiglass barriers and personal protective equipment, officials said.
City officials said Portland voters are also encouraged to wear a face covering when voting.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
The number of new daily cases of the coronavirus continued to trend downward in Maine.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 469.86 new cases per day on April 18 to 298.14 new cases per day on May 2. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 2.29 deaths per day on April 18 to 2.57 deaths per day on May 2.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that more than 62,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state since the start of the pandemic. Maine has also been the site of 790 deaths.
About 48% of the state’s eligible population has had its final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the state is removing to residency requirement to get a coronavirus vaccine in Maine.
“If you’re in Maine, and you’re over the age of 16, you can get a COVID-19 shot,” Shah said.
The state’s mobile vaccination unit will be in Turner at the Boofy Quimby Memorial Center from Wednesday through Friday. It will then be located at the Waterville Lafleur Airport from May 9 to 12.
A mass vaccination site at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will also host its final first dose clinic on Thursday. Northern Light Health said it will begin offering first doses at a smaller venue, Northern Light Health Center on Union Street in Bangor, on May 11. The Cross Insurance Center clinic is tentatively set to shut down on May 27, the organization said.
“With over half of Maine’s eligible population vaccinated, it is time we shift our approach to ensure that those who have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated can continue to do so after moving out of the Cross Insurance Center,” Northern Light said in a statement.