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Absentee ballots for July 14 primary now available across the state

Maine's Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says every town and city across the state should now have absentee ballots available for the July 14 primary.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Absentee ballots for Maine's July 14 primary are now available in every town and city across the state. That's according to Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. 

"We have not heard of any town where absentee ballots are not available at all," Dunlap said. 

Polling places will be open on July 14 for people to vote in person. That said, the state is encouraging folks to vote by mail this year in order to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

If you plan to vote by mail, Dunlap says you're going to want to make sure you get it done early.

"If you're going to mail it back, make sure you leave plenty of time, a week to 10 days, because we can't control what happens to the mail and if it gets held up somewhere," he said. "It has to be in the hands of the clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Night. There are a number of states that go by postmarks, and that's a question we get a lot. We do not go by postmark. It has to be in the possession of the clerk."

Absentee ballots can be requested in writing, by phone, online, or in-person from your local town or city clerk's office.  

Election sites will look different on July 14. Voters will see plexiglass, hand-sanitizer, social distancing markings, and more. 

Workers will also be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE).

While voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks, Dunlap says the state can not require the wearing of masks.

"We've had a lot of questions about requiring voters to wear masks when they go to the polls," Dunlap said. "We don't believe we can. People have a constitutional right to vote and we don't believe we have the right to turn them away if they do not wear a mask."

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