In this extraordinary year of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our routines have taken a backseat as we work to maintain our health, safety and economic security. One of these that we may not have thought about is making sure our young adults and other family members are registered to vote. Many students who typically register at school voter registration drives have not had this opportunity due to school closures. This fall there have been changes in schedules and in who may enter schools to hold events such as Student Voter Registration Day for those who will be 18 by Election Day.
Registering to vote is a simple process. You can do it by mail, but it’s easier if you go in person to your town office. You must be a U.S. Citizen and a Maine resident. You must be 18 by November 3, 2020. Bring your Maine driver’s license or state ID. If these show your current address, that’s all you will need. Otherwise, bring proof of residency with you too. This can be an official envelope you have received in the mail with your name and address on it or a paycheck stub. You can find a full list of documents that you can use to register at the Secretary of State’s website https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/voterguide.html. You will fill out and sign a Maine Voter Registration Application card, and you’re done.
Newly registered voters are advised to bring their ID the first time they go to the polls. If there’s any problem, you can fix it by registering on Election Day. Even if you have trouble on Election Day, if you are a qualified voter, you can still vote on a challenged ballot and it will count when the ballots are tallied.
This year many people are voting absentee due to health and safety concerns. In Maine, you don’t need an excuse to vote absentee. You may go to or call your town office to request an absentee ballot application. If you go in person, you can get your absentee ballot and vote early while at the town office. You can also go online and fill the ballot request form out at https://maineballot.org/vote/.
After your ballot is mailed to you, complete and return it as soon as possible. You can return a completed ballot by mail, in person to your town office, or at a drop box if your town has one. Remember, to be counted, absentee ballots must be received by the municipal clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020). Don’t forget to sign the envelope flap. You can also vote in person on Election Day. Polls will open between 6AM and 10AM depending on where you live, and they’ll close at 8PM.
The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation in government. We encourage all eligible citizens to participate in their representative government by exercising their right to vote.
Linda Zeigler is a member of the League of Women Voters, Midcoast and lives in Camden