The city of Bangor did not count the results from more than 1,500 absentee ballots while tabulating votes Tuesday night. The city has those ballots in hand and will count them in public on Thursday morning, City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said.
The 1,528 ballots were state ballots, with races for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Maine Legislature. City officials will add the results from those ballots to the city’s existing totals for those races during a counting session at 10 a.m. Thursday in the City Council chambers at Bangor City Hall.
The ballots were stored on one memory stick that wasn’t tabulated Tuesday night, Goodwin said.
“They put it in the wrong machine, they got an error, and they thought it had already been [processed],” Goodwin said. “This morning I discovered that the numbers didn’t add up so I looked into it.”
While the ballots won’t change any statewide outcomes once they’re counted, they could make a difference in which U.S. Senate candidate wins Bangor, where more than 14,500 people voted. Sen. Susan Collins led Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, who has already conceded the race, by just 107 votes in the city where the senator lives, according to unofficial results.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden captured the Bangor vote by wide enough margins that the 1,528 votes wouldn’t make a difference locally. The votes could have a larger effect in any of Bangor’s four Maine House races, though Democrats led comfortably in most of those contests.
Goodwin told the Maine Secretary of State’s office and representatives from both political parties about the untabulated ballots in an email on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s not a big deal,” she said. “They overlooked a stick and it didn’t get counted.”