A coalition of Maine advocacy groups is welcoming an executive order by Gov. Janet Mills that gives Mainers more time to request absentee ballots and submit voter registration applications by mail or third person in advance of the primary and state referendum election on July 14.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor moved the primary from June 9, to July 14.
League of Women Voters of Maine Executive Director Anna Kellar says by having more people vote absentee, polling places will be less crowded, and therefore safer.
“These are all very common-sense tweaks to the system that are going to give as much flexibility as possible, and flexibility is what voters need right now,” she says.
Mills’ order also allows municipalities more time to consolidate polling places and change polling locations. It also allows municipal clerks to set up secure drop boxes for absentee ballots.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says in-person voting and Elections Day voter registration will continue to be available, but is encouraging absentee voting, which Dunlap says is a very secure process.
“It’s a process we’ve used for quite a few years, where there’s a paper trail that attaches to that ballot, to the voter, until such time as it is removed from the envelope, shuffled and cast with all the other ballots,” he says.
Dunlap has released an animated video explaining the absentee voting process in Maine and is providing new online information and services.