Maine Voter Guide Part 1: Registering to Vote
Hello there. I’m Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and I oversee Elections in the State of Maine. Voting is of critical importance to our democracy and I’m glad to see you’re interested in taking part. So let’s talk about how you can register to vote in Maine.
To become a registered Maine voter, you must be at least 17 years old, be a U.S. citizen and have established your principal home in Maine. You can register to vote at your town office, where you’ll receive a voter registration card. You can also register to vote at your Bureau of Motor Vehicles, social service agencies, or at a voter registration drive.
First, check off the boxes to confirm that you are a U.S. citizen and will be 18 years old by Election Day. Then you must provide your legal name (no nicknames please), the address of where you currently live, and your complete date of birth. If you get mail at a different address, please provide that mailing address where requested.
Then you can choose a political party. You can join the Democratic Party, the Green Independent Party, the Libertarian Party or the Republican Party.
If you don’t want to join one of Maine’s four parties, check off “unenrolled.”
You must check either Yes or No to indicate whether you have previously registered to vote, either in or outside of Maine. If you check Yes, you must provide the city or town, county and state where you were previously registered to vote.
You’re almost done. Let’s check out the other side of the voter registration card. This is where you include your former legal name if you’ve registered before under a different name. Now let’s talk about the voter identification requirements: When you register, you must provide your driver’s license number, your state ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Then, once you sign and date the card, you’ve finished filling it out.
You can submit your completed voter registration card to your municipal registrar or to the agency from which you received it. When you register for the first time in Maine, you’ll need to provide identity documents, too.
You can show a current utility bill, or use your driver’s license or ID, bank statement or paycheck stub. Any government document with your name and address will do. If you decide to mail your card and a copy of your identity document, make sure it will arrive at least 21 days before the next election.
If you forget to register to vote, don’t worry. The State of Maine has same-day voter registration. Simply fill out your card at the polls on Election Day. Once you are a registered voter in Maine, it’s good for life unless you change your name or address, so you’re ready to get informed and cast your ballot in the next election.
When you vote in the State of Maine, you are keeping our democracy strong and continuing a long history of citizen participation in the governing of our state and nation.
To vote in Maine, you must first register to vote, which you can do any time before or on Election Day.
The General Election takes place every even-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but there are other times when you may also be called upon to vote. Maine holds referenda elections in November of the odd-numbered years, to vote on citizen initiatives, people’s vetoes, bond issues, and other statewide ballot questions the Legislature sends to the ballot. If you are enrolled in a party, you can vote in the party primaries, which take place in June of the even-numbered year. Special elections are also called from time to time, and you’ll need to vote whenever your town or city brings forth issues, candidates for office, or its annual municipal and school budgets for approval.
For statewide elections, you can get informed on the issues by reading our annual State of Maine voter guide, which is published on our website in the fall.
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 .
The polls open between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., depending on the size of your town, and all voting places close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
When you arrive at your voting place, you’ll need to check in with the election officials to confirm that you are registered and they’ll hand you the correct ballot for your voting districts. Then you can take your ballot to one of the private voting booths and mark your selections.
If you have difficulty reading or marking a ballot for any reason, just ask the election officials to use the Accessible Voting System or AVS, which provides options such as enlarged text and an audio ballot. The AVS also allows voters to mark their ballot using a touchscreen, a keypad with Braille or other devices.
If you need help voting, you can bring along a relative or friend, or ask an election official.
Your helper does not need to be a registered voter or even old enough to vote, but please note that Maine law does not allow your employer or union official to aid you in voting.
If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, or you’d simply rather vote at your own convenience, you can vote absentee on or before Election Day. Any registered Maine voter can request an absentee ballot by calling your town office, using our online service, or by mail. The ballot is then mailed to your home. Just make sure you request your ballot no later than three business days before the election, and return it to your town clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
You can also complete your absentee ballot at your clerk’s office prior to Election Day and simply hand it in when you’re done.
However you choose to vote – in person or absentee – be sure to make your voice heard in the democratic process! Every vote really does count.