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The State of Maine is committed to ensuring equal access to elections for all citizens.
For in-person voting on Election Day, the Secretary of State provides the Accessible Voting System (AVS) at every polling place in Maine, in accordance with the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. We are also working with municipalities on an on-going basis to improve voting place accessibility. For those voters with disabilities who prefer to vote absentee, an accessible electronic ballot is available for voters to complete independently at home using screenreader technology.
Accessible (Electronic) Absentee Ballot:
Practice Accessible (Electronic) Absentee Ballot
Screenreader Instructions to mark the ballot
As of October 2, 2020, the accessible absentee ballot is available as an option on the online absentee ballot request page. This page is activated to receive ballot requests 3 months prior to each election. The Department of the Secretary of State developed this new service in coordination with Maine’s online service provider, InforME, with input from advocates at Disability Rights Maine. It is intended for voters with print disabilities, which may include vision impairment or blindness, physical dexterity limitations, learning disabilities or cognitive impairment, all of which prevent the individual from independently marking a paper ballot.
HOW TO REQUEST YOUR ACCESSIBLE (Electronic) ABSENTEE BALLOT
- Go to the online absentee ballot request page and choose the “Accessible Ballot” button. Fill out the online application. The application requires that you self-certify that you have a disability that prevents you from completing a paper ballot independently. You will receive a message on the screen confirming your application has been submitted, followed by a confirmation by email.
- The Elections Division will process your application and send you an email to the email address provided in your application. The email will include a retrieval notice to access your ballot. This notice will include a link to the ballot download website and a secure user name and password.
- You will log into the ballot website with your user name and password, where you will download your ballot as a universally accessible PDF file and save it to your computer. This download will include all ballots for your voting district, including municipal ballots if they have been provided to the state. You can then use any standard screenreader software to assist you in reading and marking the ballot with your choices. (See instructions above for instructions specific to using three standard screen readers.)
- When you are finished marking the ballot, you will go to the final page and enter your password into the signature box and click the “lock and sign” button to the right. The password will then show as your name.
- When you close the completed ballot PDF, you will need to re-save it to your computer as a completed ballot. Then send the completed ballot as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line of “Accessible Ballot”. Or, you can reply to the ballot retrieval instructions email and attach your voted ballot PDF.
- The ballot inbox is monitored by Elections Division staff, who will acknowledge receipt of your ballot when it is processed. Please note that acknowledgment is not automated, and thus, not immediate.
If you have questions for the Elections Division, please call 207-624-7650 or email email@example.com .
Accessible Voting System (AVS)
The State of Maine provides the ExpressVote universal voting system as its Accessible Voting System. The ExpressVote is a ballot-marking device that allows individuals with disabilities to vote with privacy and independence.
Using this tabletop unit, voters can navigate through their ballot using a touchscreen, or a keypad and audio interface. The ExpressVote generates a printed ballot with the voter's choices. Ballot scanners, which are in use in most of Maine's voting places, can then count the ExpressVote ballot along with the other ballots, which helps to improve voter privacy.
The ExpressVote unit is not connected to a network and does not track or store voter choices. It is certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
The State of Maine began offering an accessible voting solution in 2006, with the Inspire Vote-By-Phone ballot-marking system. The ExpressVote ballot-marking devices replaced the phone system in June 2016.
Voting Place Accessibility
Since 2006, the Secretary of State has worked with municipalities to enhance the physical accessibility of voting places as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The links below will provide additional information and resources to assist municipal officials in achieving compliance with physical accessibility requirements.
Goals and Solutions for Improving the Accessibility of Maine’s Voting Places
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Temporary Accessibility Solutions
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International Symbol for Accessibility
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For additional information, please visit these websites:
ADA Checklist for Polling Places
ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)
U.S. Department of Justice ADA Standards for Accessible Design