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Maine Secretary of State Clarifies Absentee Ballot Rules

AUGUSTA, Maine - State election officials have sent out a clarification about when Maine voters can get, and submit, new absentee ballots. This follows yesterday's announcement by independent gubernatorial candidate Elliot Cutler that, while he was not withdrawing from the race for the Blaine House, his supporters should feel free to vote for one of his opponents it they don't believe Cutler can win.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says a law enacted by the Maine Legislature a year after the last gubernatorial election makes clear that changing one's mind about whom you want to vote for is not a sufficient reason to request a new ballot.

Dunlap says an absentee ballot cannot be declared to be spoiled once it's been returned to a municipal clerk. In addition a candidate would have to formally withdraw from a race at least 60 days before the general election for new ballots to be printed without the candidate's name.

"Where it stands right now is where it stood a couple of days ago: Eliot Cutler remains a candidate for governor. He's on the ballot," Dunlap says. "If people have voted for him and submitted their ballots, then they have completed the process. There's not an opportunity now to request another ballot."

Dunlap says voters who haven't submitted their marked absentee ballots can spoil them and request a new one. However today is the last day that request can be made.