News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 6, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, September 6, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, September 6, 2018
Absentee ballots available for General Election

by Faith DeAmbrose

Maine voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, to cast ballots for the state’s next governor, as well as a slate of state and local officials and five ballot measures. Party candidates were decided during the June primary election and write-in candidates have until September 7 to declare their intention to run. Absentee ballots have been printed (by law three months ahead of an election) and are now available to any voter.

In Maine, those casting a ballot do not need a specific reason to vote absentee.

Don’t know where to begin? Start by registering to vote.

Registering to vote

To become a registered voter, one must be at least 18 years old and have a fixed principal home in Maine. Voter registration cards are available at municipal town offices, Department of Motor Vehicles, various social service agencies and can be filled out at voter registration drives.

Voters can register with a party affiliation (Democratic, Republican, Green Independent or Libertarian), or can register as “unenrolled.” When submitting a voter card, it must be accompanied by something that shows your name and address. A current utility bill, valid drivers license, bank statement or pay stub are acceptable. For voter cards that are mailed, allow at least 21 days before an election for processing.

Absentee ballots

Absentee ballots are available three months prior to an election and up until three business days before the election, unless special circumstances exist. Those requesting a ballot by mail, need to make sure there is reasonable time for a ballot to be mailed and returned.

Same day voting

The state of Maine allows same-day registration at the polls. Fill out a voter card and show documentation with name and address, and vote that same day.

Maine voters will also used Ranked-choice voting in the November election. The method was used for the first time in a statewide election during the primary election in June.

With RCV, in a race with more than three candidates, voters choose their first-choice candidate and rank the remaining candidates in order of preference (i.e. second choice, third choice, etc.). First choices are counted, and if no candidate has a majority of the vote, an “instant runoff” occurs in which the candidate with the least support is eliminated. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their vote counted for their next choice.