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Statewide Turnout and Total Ballots Cast
November 4, 2003 Referendum


Total ballots cast:
520,973
Voting age population (VAP):
1,015,406
(2003 estimate by the U.S. Census
Bureau of Maine's 2002 VAP)
Voter turnout:
51.3%
(total ballots cast divided by Maine's
estimated voting age population)

In compliance with a new Maine law (21-A M.R.S.A., section 711, as amended by the Public Laws of 2001, chapter 516) municipal election officials now track and report to the Secretary of State the total number of ballots cast in state elections, in addition to the total votes counted for each individual question or candidate on the state ballot. These numbers can be different because voters sometimes choose not to vote on some items on the ballot.

For example, in November 4, 2003, the highest vote total for any specific question was 517,083 votes on Question 3. In the past, Maine would have used this number, sometimes called the highest vote total, to calculate voter turnout. Under the new law, however, municipal officials in November also tracked and reported the total number of ballots cast in the election overall. That number was 520,973. In short, that means 3,890 voters who cast a ballot in the November 2003 election simply skipped Question 3.

Under the old law, Maine's voter turnout in 2003 would have been 50.9%, or 517,083 divided by the estimated voting age population of 1,015,406. Under the new and more accurate law, Maine's turnout is determined to be 51.3%, or 520,973 total votes cast divided by the estimated voting age population of 1,015,406. This is a new voter turnout record by far for an off-year referendum election, no matter which turnout calculation method is used.


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