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How to vote in Maine this upcoming election

Absentee and in-person voting is underway in Maine. NEWS CENTER Maine is answering some of the most common viewer questions on how to vote.

MAINE, USA — Election Day in Maine is still a few weeks away, but it's important to begin preparing ahead of time. Here's an explainer on what you will need to register for voting, as well as when and how to vote, whether it's in the booth on Nov. 8, by mail, or in person for early voting.  

Today was the last day to send your voter registration information by mail to each town or city clerk, but there's still time to register on the same day you vote.  

And there are still plenty of ways to vote in the next three weeks leading up to Election Day, including absentee and early voting, which is proving to be a popular way to cast a ballot.

Whether you want to vote early, or on Election Day, voting in Maine is easy and accessible to all adult residents. But you do need to register.

To do so, you need proof of identity (such as a driver's license, Maine state ID, or student ID) and proof of residency (such as a bill or other piece of mail with your name and address showing the city or town where you live and plan to vote).

If you're new to Maine, you can also register to vote at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when you update your license or state ID.

Once registered, you don't need to present any form of ID to actually vote, and you can vote in a number of ways, including absentee voting, which means you get a ballot mailed to you.  

"You have to actually request the ballot," Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said.

She added that some states will mail absentee ballots to people. In Maine, however, you need to apply for an absentee ballot.

Bellows said you can apply online, by calling your town clerk, or by going to your town office to apply for a ballot in person.

Then, fill it out and either bring it to your town office in person or mail it back, but you have to mail it early enough so that it can be counted on Election Day.

According to the secretary of state's office, Mainers have already requested 104,332 absentee ballots. 

Here are the numbers broken down by district and party:

  • CD-1: 66,192
  • CD-2: 23,130
  • Democrat: 59,608
  • Republican: 18,118
  • Green: 2,965
  • Libertarian: 55
  • Unenrolled: 23,576

You can also vote early.

"Absentee voting and early voting are one and the same," Bellows said.

The difference between the two is instead of applying for your ballot and having it sent to your home, you just go into your municipal office, vote like you would on Election Day, then put it in a signed and sealed absentee envelope.

For Mainers who want to vote in person on Election Day, you can also register that day at your town office.

Ballots need to arrive at your town office by 8 p.m. Nov. 8.

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