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Governor Mills issues executive order moving primary election to July 14 due to coronavirus, COVID-19 concerns

The order also allows for absentee ballot applications up to and including Election Day
Credit: NBC

AUGUSTA, Maine — Governor Janet Mills Friday signed an Executive Order moving Maine’s primary election from Tuesday, June 9, 2020 to Tuesday, July 14, 2020 to protect voters against the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Order, which is effective immediately, also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election. It also extends the deadline for qualifying contributions under the Maine Clean Election Act to May 19, 2020.

“This postponement will provide Maine people with more time to request an absentee ballot and will allow the Secretary of State’s Office to work with municipalities to ensure that in-person voting can be done in as safe a way as possible. I recognize the ramifications this has both for voters and those running for office this year, and I appreciate their flexibility as we work to protect our elections and the health of our people.”

“Even in this time of civil emergency, our democracy will be our guide for the decisions of the future, and the Governor’s actions here will further ensure the legitimacy of our unique form of self-governance," said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

In addition to rescheduling Maine’s primary election, the Executive Order allows applications for absentee ballots may be made in writing or in person up to and including the day of the election in order to allow voters to obtain an absentee ballot and return it prior to the closure of the polls on July 14, 2020. Absentee ballots issued more than three months before June 9, 2020 remain valid for use in the July 14, 2020 election.

The Order also extends the Maine Clean Election Act submission deadline for qualifying contributions to 5:00 p.m. on May 19, 2020 instead of April 21, 2020. To become eligible for Clean Elections funding, candidates must collect a minimum number of checks or money orders of $5. Governor Mills’ Stay Healthy at Home Order effectively prevents candidates for public office from traveling door to door to collect such contributions. Candidates can and should obtain these contributions online.

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