MOUNT VERNON — Paul LePage, the former governor who hopes to return to the Blaine House, claimed in a recent campaign event that he has doubts about election integrity in Maine cities, including Rockland.

“I will say in Maine, I have great confidence in small towns — I’d say towns with less than 1,000 people — because usually the clerks know everybody in town, so I have a lot of confidence. I have less confidence when you get to Bangor, Rockland, Lewiston, Portland, South Portland. Those are areas you got to be a little bit more careful. There was 163,000 people who voted in the last presidential election that didn’t have any IDs,” LePage said.

An audio of his statements were released by the Maine Democratic Party. LePage, the Republican candidate, made the remarks on Aug. 8 in Mount Vernon.

LePage made claims during his years as governor, questioning Maine’s voting laws. He argued against allowing college students, who came from outside Maine, to vote while they were residents of college communities. His claims that they could be violating the law was met with criticism from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union.

“College students who live in Maine have the right to vote in Maine, and they are not subject to different laws than anyone else. Many of these young people are voting for the first time in a presidential election. The governor should be encouraging that civic participation, not doing everything in his power to undermine it,” the ACLU said in a statement in response to the former governor’s remarks in 2016 when he was governor.

LePage’s more recent comments come as Republicans both in Knox County and the state promote false allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that Donald Trump was actually the winner. In July, Knox County Republicans attended the viewing of a movie that claimed the election was stolen and those in attendance after the movie said they believed its claims. They also said they had not watched the Congressional hearings related to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

Rockland City Clerk Stuart Sylvester said while identification is not required in Maine to vote, people who are registering in Maine for the first time must show proof of identification and residency.

The clerk said in his experience in Rockland, 99 percent of people who register to vote for the first time have photo identification although that is not required. Documents that are accepted as identification include a driver’s license, state identification, passport, or Social Security card.

Once registered in Maine, people do not have to show identification to vote at each subsequent election.

Each major political party is allowed representatives at the polling station where voters are asked their name and address. The election clerks are selected by the city from names provided by the parties. The parties can have as many representatives as they want but the numbers must be within one representative of the other party. Minor political parties can also have people at the polling stations.

The public is allowed to observe voting from when the polls open until all the ballots are counted and results announced.

Rockland’s voting is done at the Flanagan Community Center. Rockland has about 5,500 registered voters.

Each party can also have one poll watcher who can listen to voters give their names and addresses. They can challenge a voter casting a ballot if they have a legitimate reason. The voter can cast a provisional ballot which is marked and numbered.

All challenged ballots are initially counted in the same manner as regular ballots. No further determination is made on the challenge unless a recount occurs and it is determined that the challenged ballot could affect the outcome of the election. Therefore, all challenged ballots cast in districts where no recounts occur will have been counted, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office notes on its webpage.

An email was sent Monday to LePage’s campaign asking what evidence it was basing its claim that there is doubt about voting process in communities more populous than 1,000 people.