Maine Elections

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Your State

Upcoming Elections

2016 Presidential Preference Caucus: Saturday, March 5 for Republicans; Sunday, March 6 for Democrats

2016 Congressional/State Primary: Tuesday, June 14

Please note caucuses have specific rules. Contact your local state party for more information.

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

There are NO voter registration deadlines. Voters may register on Election Day at their polling place.

For more information, visit the Maine Secretary of State website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.


More state specific election info below.

Voting Rights

News

North Carolina: First election with voter ID offers lessons, anxiety
05/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 17:30
Excerpt: 

The March primary was the first election in North Carolina's history in which all voters who cast ballots in person were asked to show an ID. More than 99 percent of voters showed ID or voted by mail, but the fraction that claimed an exemption – a "reasonable impediment" in elections jargon – gave elections officials a snapshot into the difficulties posed by the new law:

  • "She lives in a home and is 90 years old. Unaware of new law. No way to get to DMV."

  • "Domestic violence situation. Did not want person to find her new address."
  • 
"NC ID card has deteriorated and broken, cannot read expiration date on ID card."

  • "Not yet received NC ID"

  • ”House fire."


Documents filed in a lawsuit hoping to weaken the state's voter ID requirement detail several instances of problems at the polls. 2,371 voters showed up to the polls without an ID. That's a fraction of 1 percent of the the 2.3 million people who cast ballots during the primary. While Strach said she would have preferred everyone brought IDs after a two-year, statewide voter education campaign, she said the relatively small number of voters without ID is a reason for optimism.

Of those 2,371 voters who didn't show ID, less than half – 1,048 – claimed a reasonable impediment. Ultimately, 765 reasonable impediment ballots were at least partially counted, according to data posted by the State Board of Elections. The question the State Board of Elections and voting rights advocates will be sorting out next week is what happened to those more than 200 voters who claimed a reasonable impediment but didn't have their vote count.

Critics of voter ID say that the new requirements may just prompt some people to stay home rather than navigate the reasonable impediment rules. "I have no reason to believe that did, because turnout was relatively high," Strach said.

But in state court this month, civil rights attorney Anita Earls argued that the experiences of voters during the March 15 primary showed that voter ID still needs rethinking."There were a number of ways the system broke down," Earls told the court.

For example, Currie, the state case's lead plaintiff who is an elderly, black woman living in Fayetteville, was not offered a reasonable impediment declaration when she first tried to vote.

"Ms. Currie was simply told by a poll worker that she could not vote because she did not have acceptable photo identification," an amended complainant in the case recounts. "Ms. Currie was only able to vote after leaving the polling place on Election Day and after obtaining assistance from a legal intern who drove from Durham to Fayetteville to assist Ms. Currie with the voting process."

Other cases cited in the suit included an Orange County woman who was allowed to vote by showing an out-of-state license, despite rules that indicated she should have been sent through a reasonable impediment process. That shows "that the photo ID requirement for voting is not being implemented uniformly or fairly."

The plaintiffs also cited three other cases in Orange and Robeson counties they said showed voter ID standards are being applied unevenly.

Texas' Voter ID Case Could Change How Voting Works Across the Country
05/25/16 |
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 13:00
Excerpt: 

Here are a few reasons why Texas' voting rights case deserves your attention:

1. Studies show that enough Americans lack government-issued photo IDs to swing statewide and national elections.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 21 million Americans lacked a government-issued photo ID in 2006, even though they were eligible and registered to vote. More than 600,000 voters in Texas lacked a government ID.

Proponents of ballot box access laws have cited the need to protect against voter fraud, but national voting rights advocates have said the laws are a solution in search of a problem.

2. Texas law recognizes gun licenses as proof of identity for the purposes of voting, but not student IDs.

Texas’ voter ID law would require residents to show one of seven forms of approved identification — which includes military IDs and concealed carry handgun licenses.

The state's law is among the strictest in the nation because it does not recognize university IDs given to college students. 

3. The surge in voter-ID laws began after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned states from passing laws that imposed cumbersome and discriminatory barriers to voting on black and other minority voters. The law required states with a history of racial disenfranchisement to seek federal preclearance before instituting any changes to voting rules and redistricting plans.

Nearly 50 years later, a crop of restrictive voting laws has crept up in Republican-led legislatures across the country. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that the federal preclearance of voting law changes was no longer needed in a nation that had presumably progressed on racial relations. That's when states such as Missouri, Kansas, Georgia and Ohio began adoptingsweeping changes to voting laws, including voter ID and reducing the number of early voting days.

If Texas' law is allowed to move forward, it could again embolden states to seek new changes that disenfranchise voters, advocates have said.

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

Maine Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 Presidential Preference Caucus: Saturday, March 5 for Republicans; Sunday, March 6 for Democrats

2016 Congressional/State Primary: Tuesday, June 14

Please note caucuses have specific rules. Contact your local state party for more information.

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

There are NO voter registration deadlines. Voters may register on Election Day at their polling place.

For more information, visit the Maine Secretary of State website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

Polls open between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM on Election Day, depending on location.  Contact your town clerk to find out when your polling place opens.  All polls close at 8:00 pm.

Maine allows for in-person absentee voting.  You may vote absentee at your town clerk's office as soon as absentee ballots are available.  Absentee ballots are available 30 to 45 days before Election Day.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

You can find your polling place online.

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines

There is no deadline for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall.  You can register to vote in person through Election Day. If you want to register to vote by mail or through a voter registration drive, the cut-off date is the close of business on the 21st day before the election.

How to Check if You Are Registered

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Contact your County Elections Official.

How to Register

In-Person or by Mail

There is no deadline for in person voter registration at your town office or city hall.  You can register to vote on Election Day.

It is also possible to register at any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state and federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives around your community.  However, the cut-off date for these registrations is the close of business on the 21st day before the election.

In order to register by mail, a voter registration card must be filled out and turned in to your town office or city hall, or sent to the Secretary of State’s Office in Augusta.  Voter registration cards submitted via mail or third parties must be received by your local registrar no later than close of business on the 21st day before the election.

Registration Eligibility

In order to register, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Be at least 18 years of age as of election day; and
  • Have established a principal home in Maine.

Identification Required for Registration

If you are registering for the first time, you'll need to write down your driver's license number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration application.

If you are mailing your application, you will need to enclose a copy of your valid driver's license or one of the following: a current utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, or another government document that shows your name and address.

If you register in-person at your town office or city hall less than 20 days before Election Day, you must bring (1) your drivers license number or last 4 digits of your social security number; AND (2) one of the following that shows your name and address: a current utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, or another government document.  If you do not bring both of these in before Election Day, your name will still be put into the list of registered voters, but you will only be permitted to  cast a provisional (challenged) ballot.  You may need to provide additional identification or evidence of your eligibility to vote before your provisional (challenged) ballot is counted.

If You Want to Vote Early

Maine allows for in-person absentee voting.  You may vote absentee at your town clerk's office as soon as absentee ballots are available.  Absentee ballots are available at least 30 days before Election Day.  Note that, if you have not previously registered, you will need to register before casting your in-person absentee ballot.  You can register in person at your town clerk’s office at any time, including the same day that you are casting your in-person absentee ballot.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Any registered voter can vote by absentee ballot.  You don't have to give a reason when you request your ballot.  Rules and Deadlines:

  • If you request an absentee ballot by mail, make sure you leave enough time for the clerk to receive your request and mail a ballot back to you;
  •  Absentee ballots may be requested beginning 3 months before Election Day, and until the 3rd business day prior to the election, unless special circumstances exist; and
  • Absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk's office by 8:00 PM on Election Day.

Procedures for Voting by Absentee Ballot

Getting a ballot is easy.

In Person

You can go to your town clerk's office and ask for a ballot in person.

By Mail or Online

You can go to this website and submit a request online or print out a request form to mail or fax.  You can also call your town clerk and request a ballot over the phone.

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

If you are registering for the first time, you'll need to write down your driver's license number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration application.

If you are mailing your application, you will need to enclose a copy of your valid driver's license or one of the following: a current utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, or another government document that shows your name and address.

If you register in-person at your town office or city hall less than 20 days before Election Day, you must bring (1) your driver’s license number or last 4 digits of your social security number; AND (2) one of the following that shows your name and address: a current utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, or another government document.  If you do not bring both of these in before Election Day, your name will still be put into the list of registered voters but you will only be permitted to  cast a provisional (challenged) ballot.  You may need to provide additional identification or evidence of your eligibility to vote before your provisional (challenged) ballot is counted.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

If you are registered to vote before Election Day, you do not need ID at the polls.

Register with your town clerk by any of the normal registration methods.

You can register at your new address as soon as you move.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Maine-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Maine-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used  to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Maine page to download the form.

You have the right to vote in the election even if you are still incarcerated.

For more information, visit the Secretary of State website or click here to read the Maine Election Statutes.

**The materials below have not been updated since 2014**

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

For more information for student voters, visit the Maine Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

2016 Election Information for your state