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Maine GOP claims multiple voters received wrong ballot

The Maine Republican Party says they have collected 17 affidavits from Mainers who say their ballot in November listed the wrong U.S. Congressional race. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- The Maine Republican Party says they have collected 17 affidavits from Mainers who say their ballot in November listed the wrong U.S. Congressional race.

Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage says that 17 residents had the candidates for District 2 listed instead of District 1.

He says the claims come from residents of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Trevett.

"When 17 people are willing to sign an affidavit saying that something happened, we take it seriously and we think it's worth looking into," Savage said.

Boothbay's town clerk says that Trevett is a part of Boothbay, and that they use an electronic counter for their ballots. They say no issues related to the claims were ever reported.

Boothbay Harbor's town clerk says they also use an electronic counter, and they also say that no issues related to the claims were ever reported.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says that an error with the electronic system of this nature is "impossible" because of how the system operates.

"The problem with [those claims] is each individual tabulator is programmed for that precinct. So, if someone had a ballot for the wrong district, it would have been rejected by the tabulating machine," Dunlap said.

He says that he's not calling the people who stepped forward liars, but says that there is no way an error of this kind could have happened.

"The power of imagination is quite strong here, especially with such intense pressure on this recount, that it seems only natural that people might actually believe, through the power of suggestion, that somehow, something untoward happened," Dunlap said.

Edgecomb's town clerk says they count their ballots by hand. They say the people counting found no errors in the ballots related to a misprinted race.

Dunlap says the people who work in districts that count by hand are used to this type of work, and wouldn't miss a mistake of that nature.

"This is more of a product of the fact that people who don't do this work every single day, and see that ballot for a minute or two, and then they hear a lot of uncertainty about the election, and then they sort of buy into it if you will," Dunlap said.

Savage says that there's no harm in unsealing the ballots for those voting districts and recounting them.

"These voters and others have been talking about this since shortly after the election and it doesn't seem unreasonable to take a look at the box of ballots," Savage said.

He says that if the claims turned out to be true, the election results would stay the same, but says that it could prevent more problems in the future.

"I don't know if it changes the outcome or anything, but it would certainly expose that there is a problem in the system that needs to be fixed," Savage said.

Dunlap says at this point in time there's no plan to unseal those ballots and start a recount.

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