Many Mainers continue to opt for absentee voting

Absentee voting numbers remain high in Maine as Secretary of State urges COVID-19 safety
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 11:30 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Mainers will head to the polls on Tuesday with three statewide ballot issues as well as many local elections and issues to decide.

Many Mainers have already voted. As of 3 p.m. Friday, nearly 82,000 absentee ballots had already been returned out of about 119,000 requested. While that is far below the record number of absentee ballots cast in November of 2020, when 514,000 people voted absentee, it is significantly higher than other recent referendum election years.

For reference, in November 2019, fewer than 30,000 absentee ballots were cast, and only 189,093 total ballots were cast. In November 2017, about 55,000 Mainers voted absentee and in November 2011, 63,000 Mainers cast absentee ballots.

The secretary of state’s office has encouraged towns to follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Many towns are using similar spacing and masking protocols that they used in 2020, but no one can be stopped from voting at the polls for not wearing a mask, regardless of local ordinances.

The secretary of state’s office also says there does not appear to be the same widespread issue with polling location staffing this year as there was in 2020, when many communities struggled to get volunteers.

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