2020 Schedule of Federal/State Elections
|March 3||Presidential Primary and Special State Referendum Election|
|June 9||State Primary Election|
|November 3||General (Presidential) and Potential State Referendum Election|
Maine Political Parties
Maine currently has three qualified parties: Democratic, Green Independent and Republican that may participate in primary elections. (Note: although some unenrolled candidates choose to designate themselves as “Independent,” there is no “Independent” party in Maine.)
Presidential Primary Election
Description of the Presidential Primary Election
The 129th Maine Legislature enacted a Presidential Primary law in 2019 (PL 2019, Chapter 445), for the purpose of allowing Maine voters to designate their preference for the nomination of their party’s candidate. In order to participate in the Presidential Primary, each of the 3 qualified parties had until November 1, 2019 to file a certification with the Secretary of State.
The Democratic Party and the Republican Party filed this certification and will participate in the Presidential Primary election, but also will hold caucuses for conducting other party-building activities. The Green Independent Party chose not to participate in the Presidential Primary election but will hold party caucuses for voting for the Presidential candidate and conducting other party-building activities.
In order to qualify for the Presidential Primary Election ballot, Democratic and Republican candidates had to circulate petitions and submit at least 2,000 signatures of registered voters who are enrolled in their party to the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections by 5:00 p.m. on December 23, 2019. The following are the final list of candidates for each party. There are no declared write-in candidates for either party.
Special State Referendum Election
A People’s Veto petition was submitted to the Secretary of State on September 18, 2019, to prevent the following law from taking effect on September 19th.
Chapter 154 of the Public Laws of 2019: “An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements”
The Secretary of State certified on October 17, 2019 that the petition had enough valid signatures to be voted on at the next statewide election on March 3, 2020.
Question 1: People’s Veto
Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?
Description of the State Primary Election (for offices other than President)
Primary Elections determine each qualified party’s nomination of candidates for federal offices (other than President) and qualified State and County offices. Party candidates who are elected at the Primary qualify to appear on the November General Election ballot.
Offices included in the 2020 Primary Election are United States Senator, Representative to Congress (both districts), all 35 State Senate districts, all 151 State Representative districts, and the following county offices, which vary depending on the county: Judge of Probate, Register of Probate, County Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Sheriff, District Attorney and County Commissioner.
In order to qualify for the Primary Election ballot, party candidates must gather a specified number of signatures on primary nomination petitions between January 1, 2020 and March 16, 2020 and must submit these petitions to the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections by 5:00 p.m. on March 16, 2020.
Nonparty candidates gain access directly to the General Election ballot by gathering a specified number of signatures on nonparty nomination petitions between January 1, 2020 and June 1, 2020 and must submit these petitions to the Division of Elections by 5:00 pm on June 1, 2020.
Please see the Candidate web page for more information.
Description of the General Election
The General Election is held nationally on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. In 2020, Maine voters will select their choice for President/Vice President (this process is called the “popular vote”), and elect one of Maine’s two United States Senators, Maine’s Representatives to Congress, members of the Maine Legislature, and certain county officers.
Each party’s nomination for President/Vice President of the United States, party candidates who are nominated as a result of the June Primary Election, and unenrolled candidates will appear on the General Election ballot.
The actual election of President/Vice President occurs through the Electoral College. The “popular vote” is used to choose Maine’s 4 “electors”, who convene at what is called the “Electoral College” at the State House in December to cast their “electoral votes.”
Ranked-choice Voting (RCV)
Ranked-choice voting will be used in the 2020 State Primary and General elections. Visit our RCV Resources page for more information about ranked-choice voting, including Frequently Asked Questions and sample ballots.
Contact the Elections Division