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Voting Rights Groups Want Maine To Do More To Improve Mail-In, Absentee Voting

Maine Public File

Voting rights groups are pushing the state to take further steps to ease Mainers' ability to get their votes counted.

Anna Kellar of the League of Women voters says the state should use some of a $3 million federal allotment for voting access to provide postage for all mail-in votes — which Kellar says would cost around $500,000 for the expected high volume of mail-in ballots.

Kellar also says the state should institute a system that would allow voters to check online whether their mail-in votes were received and in good order.

"If it's a system like that, that a voter could go look up their own ballot, it would give the voter some confidence, and it would also reduce the burden of the clerks, with people calling up their clerks and wondering if their ballot got there."

Kellar says some clerks are already inundated with calls from concerned voters.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills Thursday issued anexecutive order that extends the deadline for voter registration applications to October 19 and that allows local clerks to begin processing absentee ballots up to seven days before the election.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.