FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2022
Absentee Ballot Requests Surpass 2018 Total
AUGUSTA — According to data from the Secretary of State, absentee ballot requests for the 2022 General Election have surpassed the total number of requests from the 2018 General Election. With three more full days of no-excuse absentee voting to go, 211,359 absentee ballot requests have been submitted, compared to 196,710 in 2018.
“No excuse absentee voting is a great option for many people, whether they’re busy and need the flexibility it provides, whether they prefer the privacy of voting at home, or whether they’re enthusiastic and want to cast their vote as soon as possible,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “We are proud that whatever their reason, Mainers are getting out to vote and making sure their voices are heard through their ballots.”
Of the 211,359 voters who have requested ballots, 107,664 are Democrats, 6,202 are Green Independents, 140 are Libertarians, 47,646 are Republicans, and 49,707 are unenrolled in a party. So far, 144,578 ballots have been returned and accepted by municipal clerks.
From now through Election Day, the Elections Division will post up-to-date absentee voter data after 3 PM daily at https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/data/index.html.
Maine’s no-excuse absentee voting law means that any Maine voter may choose to vote absentee, whether in person at their town or city hall, or at home. No-excuse absentee voting continues through the Thursday before an election; this year that is Thursday, November 3. Hours for in person absentee voting at a town or city hall are set by each municipality. Many offer extended hours, particularly in the last days of no excuse absentee voting, but state law does not require this. After November 3, when certain special circumstances exist, for example, an unexpected hospitalization, a voter may still vote absentee.
Absentee ballots, including accessible ballots and ballots for uniformed and overseas voters, may be requested via the state’s online portal. Voters may also call their town or city hall to request a ballot, go in person to their town or city hall, or submit a paper application for an absentee ballot. Some third-party groups and campaigns send out the paper application to voters, and this is legal. Voters, however, need only submit one application for an absentee ballot, duplicates will be noted but not fulfilled.
In many towns and cities, voters will have the option of returning an absentee ballot to a secured drop box. This year, 45 more municipalities have added this convenience for their voters. A complete list is available at https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html. Under new state law from 2021, absentee ballot drop boxes must be monitored periodically, secured to the ground or building, and the interior only accessible by the town or city clerk and their staff. Ballots must be retrieved periodically and in teams of two.
Upon receipt of an absentee ballot, a municipal clerk will examine the signature of the voter on the absentee ballot envelope and on any affidavit and witness certification on the envelope and may compare it to the signature on their voter registration file. If the ballot requires curing – the required information is not present or the signatures do not match – the clerk shall contact the voter within a day, or on the day before or the day of the election, make a good faith effort to contact the voter. The outcome of the clerk’s inspection of the envelope is noted in the tracker, and a voter can see if their ballot has been accepted or rejected. If a voter’s ballot is rejected, they would be able to cast a different ballot by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.