Secretary of State unveils July election resources

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 1:00pm
    AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap issued a memo June 5 to share information with voters ahead of the July 14 Primary and State Referendum Election, as Maine citizens prepare to cast ballots in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “We hope these materials will increase voters’ confidence and understanding of their voting options during this pandemic,” said Secretary Dunlap. “I am encouraging absentee voting for this election, as it will help reduce the possibility of virus exposure for voters and election workers.”

    Among the new resources are easy to spot graphics pointing users of the Department’s website to the correct area to request an absentee ballot or register to vote, and a pair of videos explaining Maine’s absentee voting process and discussing the upcoming July election

    Absentee voting is a method the Department has used for several years, Dunlap said, so the Department is confident it is a secure and safe way to cast ballots.

    In-person voting and Election Day voter registration will continue to be available, to ensure that every eligible voter can participate, and virus prevention measures will be in place at polling sites, he said.

    Governor Janet Mills has made a few modifications to Maine’s elections process through a pair of Executive Orders, including: 

    An expansion of the deadline to submit voter registration applications by mail or third person: Voters have until close of business on July 7. (In-person registration is still available through Election Day.)

    An expansion of the deadline to request an absentee ballot: Clerks will accept requests in person (or by written, signed request submitted in person by a third party) up to and including Election Day. To ensure timely receipt of the ballots, requests made by other means, such as the online form, must be made far enough in advance to allow time for mailing.

    The option for municipal clerks to provide secure drop boxes for absentee ballots.

    Allowing consolidation of polling places up to 15 days prior to Election Day.

    Allowing changes to the location of polling places up to 10 days prior to Election Day.