Maine launches accessible absentee ballot option for voters with print disabilities

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 3:45pm

    AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Thursday the launch of a new online service that will provide an accessible absentee ballot option for qualified voters with disabilities.

    The Accessible Absentee Ballot option will become available Friday, Oct. 2, as one of the options on the online absentee ballot request page for the Nov. 3 General Election.

    The service is intended for voters with print disabilities, which may include vision impairment or blindness, physical dexterity limitations, learning disabilities or cognitive impairment, all of which prevent the individual from independently marking a paper ballot.

    “We have been encouraging people to consider absentee voting if they are concerned about going to a polling place during this pandemic, and for voters with disabilities who wanted to vote absentee, only the mailed paper ballot was available until now,” said Secretary Dunlap. “This new service represents a significant milestone in our administration of elections in Maine, making independent absentee voting available to all Maine citizens.”

    “We are pleased that the Secretary of State’s Office has taken steps to ensure that people with print disabilities will be able to vote privately, independently, and safely from their home for the November 3 general election,” said Kristin Aiello, lead counsel for Disability Rights Maine, which advised Dunlap’s office on the new service. 

    In addition to the accessible absentee ballot, the State provides the Accessible Voting System ballot-marking device at every polling place on Election Day, which allows any voter to use a touchscreen or controller pad/audio to independently mark their ballot.