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Elections FAQ

Find answers to your commonly asked questions about voting and registering to vote in Maine.

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General Voting Information

Where do I go to vote?

Every town and city has its own places where people vote - called voting places or "the polls". You can call your town office or city hall to find out where you vote, or use the online Voter Information Lookup service . Voting places open between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., depending on the population of the town. Local officials can give you the exact opening time for your community. All voting places close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

What hours are the polls open?

For municipalities with a population of 500 or more – the polls can open between 6:00 am and 8:00 am.

For municipalities with a population of less than 500 – the polls can open between 6:00 am and 10:00 am.

Local officials can give you the exact opening time for your municipality.

All voting places close at 8:00 pm on Election Day.

How do I mark a ballot?

Each ballot tells you how to mark your choices. If you have a question, ask an election official. If you make a mistake, fold your ballot and give it to an election official. The election official will give you another ballot.

Can I have help voting?

Yes. If you need help reading or marking the ballot, you may ask a relative or friend for assistance. The helper does not have to be a voter or old enough to vote. An election official can also help you read or mark a ballot. However, your employer or union official cannot help you vote.

Do I need to go to the polls on Election Day to vote?

No. Any registered voter may cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person at the voting place. You do not need to have a specific reason or be unable to vote at the polls on Election Day to use an absentee ballot. Call your town or city clerk for an application and assistance.

How do I locate and contact my municipal clerk?

You can find contact information for your town office or city hall on Maine.gov at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html

What if I still have questions about registering or voting in Maine?

For more information contact:

Office of the Secretary of State
Elections Division
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207)624-7650
Email
http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/

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Registering to Vote

Who can register and vote in Maine?

To register, you must be a United States citizen, at least 17 years of age, and have established a fixed and principal home in Maine.

To vote in a Referendum or General Election, you must be registered to vote in the community where you reside and be at least 18 years of age. A 17 year old may vote in a Primary Election if that person will be 18 by the General Election.

How do I register to vote?

You fill out a voter registration application. This simple card is available at your town office and other locations (see Where do I go to register?).

Where do I go to register?

You can register to vote at your town office or city hall, through any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state & federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives. Completed voter registration cards may be hand delivered or mailed to your town office or city hall, or sent to the Secretary of State’s Office in Augusta.

Is there a deadline for registering?

There is no cut-off date for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall. If you want to register to vote by mail or through a voter registration drive, the cut-off date is the close of business on the 21st day before the election. That date is Tuesday, October 16, 2018, for the November 6, 2018 General and Referendum Election.

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Absentee Voting

What is absentee voting and how does it work?

Absentee voting allows you to cast a ballot without going to a voting place on Election Day.

Who may vote absentee?

Any registered voter may cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person at a voting place on Election Day. You don’t need to have a specific reason or be unable to vote at the polls on Election Day to receive an absentee ballot.

When can I request an absentee ballot?

Absentee ballots may be requested beginning 3 months before Election Day and until the third business day prior to the election, unless special circumstances exist. Make your request early to allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you.

Is there a deadline to request an absentee ballot?

For the November 6, 2018 General and Referendum Election, the deadline to request an absentee ballot including a ballot voted in the presence of the clerk, is Thursday, November 1, 2018, unless the voter completes a special circumstances application, stating one of four allowable reasons for requesting an absentee ballot after this deadline. The four reasons are:

  • An unexpected absence from the municipality during the entire time the polls are open on election day;
  • A physical disability;
  • An inability to travel to the polls if the voter is a resident of a coastal island ward or precinct; or
  • An incapacity or illness that has resulted in the voter being unable to leave home or a treatment facility.

This special circumstances application must be signed by the voter. This application can be obtained from your municipal clerk or from the Secretary of State.

How do I apply for and receive an absentee ballot?

There are many ways to request an absentee ballot. Ballots must be requested from the municipal clerk where you are registered to vote -- unless you are a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. or an uniformed service voter -- then you request your ballot from the Secretary of State.

You can make a telephone request for your own ballot, which will be mailed to the address you provide to the clerk.

You may also request your own ballot using the online absentee ballot request service.

You can make a written request by completing an absentee ballot application. Additionally, you can obtain a ballot for an immediate family member in this same way. A ballot will be mailed to the voter directly or to an immediate family member making the request. Your municipal clerk can tell you who is considered an immediate family member under the law.

NOTE: Ballots obtained by the voter or an immediate family member do not require witnesses, unless the voter receives assistance from another person in reading or marking the ballot.

Applications are available from the municipal clerk or online starting 3 months before each election.

Can I vote by absentee ballot in person somewhere?

Yes. You may vote absentee at the clerk’s office as soon as absentee ballots are available. Absentee ballots are available starting at least 30 days before the election at the municipal clerk’s office. You don’t need to complete a written application if you vote in person at the clerk’s office.

When must my voted ballot be returned to my municipal clerk?

To be counted, voted absentee ballots must be received by the municipal clerk by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Are there any other ways to receive an absentee ballot?

You may make a written request for a “third person” (someone other than the voter or the voter’s immediate family member) to obtain and hand-deliver an absentee ballot.

You must designate, in a written request or application, the specific third person who will handle and deliver the ballot. Only this designated third person may handle the absentee ballot.

Ballots cast in this way must be witnessed by either a notary public, a municipal clerk, a clerk of courts, or 2 other witnesses.

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