Automatic voter registration to be unveiled at BMV locations

AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Maine legislators, municipal clerks, and elections advocates will hold ribbon cuttings for Automatic Voter Registration at three Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches this week.

“This will be a convenient new option for registering to vote, or updating your voter registration,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who oversees Maine’s BMV and Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. “Maine should be proud of our well-run elections, and automatic voter registration continues that tradition. While other states are making it harder to vote, we should celebrate Maine’s progress making our elections more accessible.”

When Mainers who are 16 years of age or older visit a BMV branch to get or renew a Maine driver’s license or ID and provide proof of residency and citizenship, they’ll be prompted with the opportunity to register to vote, or update their voter registration. Maine 16- and 17-year-olds will be pre-registered, and Mainers 18 years of age and older will be registered. To vote in a Referendum or General Election, Maine voters must be 18 years of age, though 17-year-olds may vote in Primary Elections if they will be 18 by that year’s General Election. 16-year-olds may only pre-register.

“Mainers visit our branches when they move or change their name, and we’re asking these folks for the same information as they need to register to vote, so we’re happy to help our Elections and municipal partners in keeping their voter rolls up-to-date,” said Deputy Secretary for the BMV Cathie Curtis.

The information compiled, including name, address, and date of birth, will be sent electronically to the voter’s municipality to complete the registration process. While paper forms will remain an option, sending data electronically will reduce transcription errors and cut down on processing time for election officials.

“Our municipal election officials do so much – and often are tasked with several other duties in their cities and towns – so we look for ways we can reduce their burden without sacrificing election safety and security,” said Deputy Secretary for CEC Julie Flynn. “Automatic voter registration will improve efficiency in election administration while maintaining security.”

Automatic voter registration was passed into law and signed by Gov. Janet Mills in 2019. With this successful implementation, Maine becomes the 22nd state to have automatic voter registration.

WHAT: Automatic voter registration ribbon cutting
WHO: Secretary of State Shenna Bellows; Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes; State Senator Stacy Brenner; State Representative Morgan Rielly; South Portland Mayor Deqa Dhalac; Democracy Maine Executive Director Anna Kellar; and others
WHEN: 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 20
WHERE: 200 Expedition Drive Suite G, Scarborough

WHAT: Automatic voter registration ribbon cutting
WHO: Secretary of State Shenna Bellows; Hampden Town Clerk Gayle Decker; State Representative Laura Supica; and others
WHEN: 10 a.m., Thursday, July 21
WHERE: 396 Griffin Road, Suite 202, Bangor

WHAT: Automatic voter registration ribbon cutting
WHO: Secretary of State Shenna Bellows; Senate President Troy Jackson
WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Thursday, July 21
WHERE: 14 Access Highway Suite 2, Caribou