Absentee voting the choice of Maine voters?

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 3:42 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 8:35 AM EDT
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CORRECTION: Please bring your absentee ballots to your town’s drop box or directly to the clerk’s office. Do NOT bring absentee ballots to polling sites.

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Tuesday, thousands of people in the state will head to the polls to cast their ballot.

They’ll join a record number, for an off-year election, of people that have already voted absentee.

TV5 spoke with Maine’s Secretary of State on this election eve.

“In 2020, Maine ranked third in the country in voter participation. We are generally always in the top three in the nation, and while voter turnout in a referendum only election is lower than other years, we still think it will be fairly strong,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

Bellows thinks the way all those Mainers are voting is changing.

“People learned in 2020 that absentee voting is convenient and accessible,” said Bellows. “2019, 29,279 voters cast an absentee ballot, so that is much less than this year when we’re already at 88,257 voters have returned their absentee ballot.

With all those already in, Bellows says there are still thousands of absentee ballots they have yet to get back.

“If you have your absentee ballot and you haven’t mailed it back, you should use your town’s absentee ballot dropbox or deliver it personally to the clerk because Maine is a state where all ballots have to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. It’s not good enough for it to be postmarked on Election Day. It won’t be counted unless it’s in hand by your municipality at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Bellows says without the parties behind candidates for major offices, like president or governor, driving people to the polls, turnout will be down, but this year could be different.

“It ranges from year to year, and it’s still unclear. Do we have record high absentee voting levels compared to any other referendum only election because people are more comfortable with absentee voting than ever before, or because they’re more fired up? The proof will be at the polls tomorrow,” said Bellows.

Just a reminder, polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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