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Study Shows That Voter ID Laws Do Keep Minorities From Voting
02/19/17 |
Publication Date: 
Sunday, February 19, 2017 - 01:00
Excerpt: 

Although it was true that voter participation in [the 10 states with the strictest voter ID laws] did not take a dive overall, when the researchers examined the participation of different ethnic groups more closely, that’s where they saw a stark difference. States with the harshest voter ID laws saw a dip in participation from African American, Asian American and Hispanic American voters.

Moreover, the gap between white voter participation and minority voter participation is worse in states with strict voter ID laws. In other words, you can see a higher percentage of non-white voters going to the polls when the identification laws aren’t there to create an obstacle. ...

With the advent of voter ID measures, the gap between liberal and conservative voters jumped from 7.7 to 20.4 points, giving conservatives an overwhelming advantage at the polls in these states.

Hundreds of Texans May Have Voted Improperly
02/18/17 |
Publication Date: 
Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 10:30
Excerpt: 

Texas election officials have acknowledged that hundreds of people were allowed to bypass the state's toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law and improperly cast ballots in the November presidential election by signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID.

The chief election officers in two of the state's largest counties are now considering whether to refer cases to local prosecutors for potential perjury charges or violations of election law. Officials in many other areas say they will simply let the mistakes go, citing widespread confusion among poll workers and voters.

The Texas law requires voters to show one of seven approved forms of identification to cast ballots. It was softened in August to allow people without a driver's license or other photo ID to sign an affidavit declaring that they have an impediment to obtaining required identification.

Even after the affidavits were introduced, voters who possess an acceptable photo ID were still required to show it at the polls.

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Maine Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: There is no deadline to register to vote in person at your town office. Voters may register on Election Day at their polling place.

The deadline for receipt of a voter registration application submitted by mail or by a third person (e.g. applications made at a registration drive) is close of business on the 21st day before the election a voter intends to vote in.  For the 2016 General Election, this deadline is close of business on October 18, 2016.

For more information, visit the Maine Secretary of State’s website (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/).

Election Day:

Polls open between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Election Day, depending on location. Contact your municipal clerk (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html) 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 at least 30 days before Election Day.

How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the “Maine Voter Information Lookup Service” web page (http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/voter_lookup.php). 

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Registration Deadlines: There is no deadline for registering to vote in person at your town office. You can register to vote in person on Election Day at your polling place. If you want to register to vote by mail or through a third person, you must register before the close of business on the 21st day before the Election Day. For the 2016 General Election, this deadline is close of business on October 18, 2016.

How to Check Your Registration: Contact your municipal election official (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html) or call 866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Maine, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Have established and maintain a fixed and principal home in Maine and in the municipality where you seek to register; and
  • Be at least 17 years old (and must be at least 18 years old on or before the Election Day to be eligible to vote).

There is no duration of residence requirement in Maine; you may register the first day that you move to the State.

How to Register: Maine residents may register in person and by mail.

In Person

There is no deadline for registration in person at your town office (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html).  You can register to vote on Election Day at your polling place.

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, applications to register through a third person must be received by the voter’s municipal registrar no later than close of business on the 21st day before the election. For the 2016 General Election, this date is close of business on October 18, 2016.

By mail

In order to register by mail, a voter registration card must be filled out and mailed to the voter’s municipal registrar (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html), or sent to the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta.  Voter registration cards submitted via mail must be received by the voter’s municipal registrar no later than close of business on the 21st day before the election. For the 2016 General Election, this date is close of business on October 18, 2016.

Identification Required for Registration:

If you are registering to vote for the first time in Maine, you'll need to write down your Maine driver's license/Maine State ID number or the last four digits of your social security number (if you don’t have a Maine driver's license/Maine State ID) on your registration application.

If you are mailing your application, you will need to enclose a copy of your valid Maine driver's license, valid Maine State ID, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or another government document, showing your current name and street address.

If you register to vote in-person, you must bring (1) your Maine driver's license/Maine State ID number or the last 4 digits of your social security number (if you don’t have a Maine driver's license/Maine State ID); and (2) one of the following documents showing your current name and street address: valid Maine driver’s license; valid Maine State ID; a current utility bill; a bank statement; a paycheck; or another government document that includes your current name and street address. If you do not bring both of these in before Election Day, your name will still be included in the list of registered voters, but you will only be permitted to cast a provisional (challenged) ballot. Challenged ballots are counted along with regular ballots. If the number of challenged ballots could affect the outcome of the vote (exceeding in number the difference between winning and losing candidates) then they are reviewed by the Maine election authorities. If the voter must take further action to verify their identity or residency, they will be contacted by the election authorities before a decision is made whether to count or not to count the challenged ballot.

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. For more information on absentee voting, please visit the Maine’s Secretary of State web page “Absentee Voting Guide” (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/absenteeguide.html).

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Any registered voter can vote by absentee ballot.  You don't have to have a specific reason to request your absentee ballot.

Rules and Deadlines:

  • Absentee ballots may be requested from 3 months before Election Day until the 3rd business day prior to the Election Day, unless special circumstances exist; and
  • If you request an absentee ballot by mail or online, make sure you leave enough time for the clerk to receive your request and mail a ballot back to you;
  • Absentee ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk's office by 8:00 p.m. 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 (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html) and ask for a ballot in person.

By Mail

You can go to the Maine Secretary of State’s online absentee ballot request service (http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl) and submit a request online or print out a request form to mail or fax.  You can also call your town clerk (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html) and request a ballot over the phone.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

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

VoteRiders has created Maine voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same Municipality

If you moved within the same municipality, you need to notify the registrar to change your address on the incoming voting list and in the central voter registration system. If you fail to notify the registrar before Election Day, you will need to ask the municipal registrar to change your address on the voting list on Election Day. 

Moving Between Municipalities

If you moved to a different municipality, you need to re-register with the registrar of your new municipality.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Under federal law, if you are in the military or are an overseas voter, you can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and request absentee ballots for a minimum of all federal elections in the current calendar year. Be sure to complete a new FPCA each year and every time your address changes. The FPCA is also known as Standard Form 76. For more information and for a downloadable version of the FPCA visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Maine-specific page. (https://www.fvap.gov/maine).

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can receive their absentee ballots by mail, email/online or fax.  If you wish to use the email/online or fax option, you must indicate this in your FPCA.  Voted ballots must be returned by mail, email or fax to your election official. Contact information can be found in the "Local Election Offices" section of the Voting Assistance Guide on the FVAP website (https://www.fvap.gov/vao/vag/chapter2/maine).

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

If you requested your absentee ballot and haven't received it from your State at least 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot. For more information and for a downloadable version of the FWAB visit the FVAP Maine-specific page (https://www.fvap.gov/maine).

For further information, you can also visit the Maine Secretary of State’s “Uniformed Service & Overseas (UOCAVA) Voters” web page (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/uocava.html).

A criminal conviction does not affect your eligibility to vote in Maine. You have the right to vote in an election even if you are still incarcerated.

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

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

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

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

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