NEWS
11/09/2016 12:19 EST | Updated 11/10/2017 00:12 EST

The Latest: Scarborough overlooked 2,700 absentee ballots

PORTLAND, Maine — The latest on election results in Maine (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says the southern Maine community of Scarborough overlooked 2,700 absentee ballots on Election Day and must redo its election totals.

Dunlap said the absentee ballots were run through the tabulation machine on Election Day but that no one took the extra step of obtaining a tape with the totals.

Town officials discovered the problem on their own.

The town began redoing its numbers Wednesday afternoon.

That was the biggest election anomaly reported in Maine. Dunlap said voter tabulation machines broke in three communities and that extra ballots had to be printed at a polling place in Lewiston. But he said those were minor issues.

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2:52 p.m.

Gov. Paul LePage is offering his congratulations to Republican President-elect Donald Trump for a "historic, hard-fought and well-deserved win."

The Maine Republican called Trump's election a "triumph" for the American people who "rose up to defeat the forces of corruption, the political establishment and the elitist, out-of-touch media."

LePage said Trump can now work to improve the economy, fill a vacant Supreme Court seat and bring fiscal responsibility to the federal government.

The blunt-spoken Maine governor said he and Trump are cut from the "same cloth."

LePage jokingly described himself as "Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular."

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2:45 p.m.

Opponents of a proposal to legalize marijuana in Maine say they are ready to request a recount if the race is called in favour of the ballot initiative.

Scott Gagnon of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine said he wasn't ready to concede the race Wednesday afternoon.

The legalization proposal was winning by a margin of less than 1 per cent in unofficial tallies Wednesday, but votes in several towns had not yet been collected.

In Maine, there's no automatic recount. But a recount can be requested with no financial cost for a race that's within 1.5 percentage points.

Backers of recreational marijuana legalization held a rally outside Portland City Hall in which they said they were getting ready to begin working to implement a legal marijuana program. They say they think marijuana will be available over the counter by 2018 at the earliest.

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2 p.m.

Maine Democrats gained two seats in the state Senate but failed to wrest control from Republicans.

Republican senatorial candidates Lisa Keim and Dana Dow unseated two Democratic incumbents, Sens. John Patrick and Chris Johnson, in races that together saw half a million dollars in outside spending. Democratic candidates Shenna Bellows, Michael Carpenter, Troy Jackson and Eloise Vitelli won Senate seats in Republican districts without incumbents.

Democratic Sen. David Miramant won by just 691 votes over Republican challenger, David Emergy.

Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau held a narrow lead Wednesday afternoon over Democratic candidate Jonathan Fulford. That race is still too close to call.

The Maine Democratic Party reported spending $4 million this cycle, including more than $1.3 million on its bid to win at least three Senate seats in more rural districts.

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10:52 a.m.

Maine residents aren't ready to sign on to stricter gun control regulations.

Voters in the state rejected a ballot question that would have created new requirements for background checks for people who buy firearms in the state.

The new law would have required the background checks before the sale or transfer of firearms between people who are not licensed as firearms dealers. Failure to do so would have been punishable by law. Some exceptions included family members and weapons used for hunting, self-defence, lawful competitions and shooting range activities.

Opponents contended the background checks were an unnecessary restriction bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His non-profit donated millions to the drive.

Proponents said the change would have closed a loophole in state gun laws.

The National Rifle Association of America campaigned against the law.

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10:40 a.m.

Contested ballot questions about marijuana legalization, stricter gun control and a tax raise to fund education remain too close to call in Maine.

Proponents of marijuana in Maine want the state to join California, Nevada and Massachusetts in making the drug legal for recreational use in the state. The results were too close to call Wednesday morning.

The gun control measure would require background checks before the sale or transfer of firearms between people who aren't licensed dealers. The National Rifle Association of America campaigned hard against the proposal. It also had the financial support of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Another initiative would add a 3 per cent tax for residents who make more than $200,000 per year, with the additional money being used to support public education.

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8:30 a.m.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who did not support Donald Trump for president, has congratulated him on his victory and says it's her hope that he will focus on issues that unite people.

Collins said in a statement Wednesday that she pledges to work with Trump in that effort.

Collins had been critical of Trump throughout the campaign. She had said the businessman does not reflect the values historically held by Republicans nor "the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country."

Collins said she shares the relief of many Americans that the long, divisive presidential election has drawn to a close.

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2:40 a.m.

Maine residents have approved a ballot question that will allow voters to rank their choice of candidates.

Under the election overhaul, ballots are counted at the state level in multiple rounds. Last place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by a majority.

The voting style will apply to races for U.S. senate, U.S. representative, governor, state senate and state representative.

Proponents of ranked choice voting say it will prevent a governor from being elected with less than 50 per cent of the votes. That was the scenario when Gov. Paul LePage was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

Ranked choice voting is sometimes also called "instant runoff."

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2 a.m.

Maine is splitting its electoral votes for the first time, with Democrat Hillary Clinton winning three electoral votes and Republican Donald Trump collecting enough support to claim one electoral vote.

Trump won enough support in Maine's sprawling 2nd Congressional District to prevent Clinton from winning all four electoral votes.

Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that can split electoral votes. But it had never happened in Maine since the current system was put in place for the 1972 election.

That changed on Tuesday.

Trump won enough support in the more rural of the state's congressional districts to declare a partial victory in Maine.

Trump visited Maine five times this year. Three of those visits were in the 2nd District, where Trump courted rural votes.