Strimling makes appearance in mayoral tally room

Ethan Strimling, who came into the decisive Day 2 of the Portland mayoral vote counting in second place among the 15 candidates, has arrived at the State of Maine Room at City Hall, where he had election consultant Caleb Kleppner show him the ongoing scanning process.

He’s the first candidate to come check out the process in person. David Marshall, who came into the day in fourth place, was here when the scanning was initially slated to begin, at 8 a.m., but left before the process began.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple previous blog posts, the scanning got started about two hours later than planned because Kleppner’s TrueBallot team was delayed in setting their equipment up.

In speaking to the media, Strimling said he wanted to see firsthand the Day 2 processes.

“We’re observing it very closely,” Strimling said. “It’s a new process for the state of Maine.”

Strimling said that, while at the polls greeting voters Tuesday, most of the feedback he received on the new “ranked choice” ballot was favorable, and acknowledged the ongoing scanning process “appears to be going pretty smoothly.”

Earlier, Marshall said he heard similar things from voters he spoke to.

The former state senator and current executive director of LearningWorks said he’s still optimistic about his chances to catch frontrunner Michael Brennan. Portland voters were able to rank the candidates from No. 1 to No. 15 on the ballots, and only first choice votes were tallied on Election Day.

Today, the second choice votes on ballots cast for lower ranked candidates will be reallocated as first choice votes for higher ranked candidates through several rounds of “instant runoffs.” The first candidate to gain more than 50 percent wins.

Brennan finished Election Day with 5,240 votes, compared to Strimling’s 4,390.

“There are 13 candidates below Mike and I,” Strimling said just a few moments ago. “I need to pick up 850 [second choice] votes over 10,000 ballots. That’s … achievable.”

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.