As we’ve pointed out in the past, absentee voting remains one of many ways Maine voters can make their voices heard at the ballot. The recent November 8th midterm elections saw more than 250,000 Mainers utilize this voting method.
So what is absentee voting and why would Mainers benefit from a permanent option?
What Is Absentee Voting?
Absentee voting allows all eligible voters to vote outside a polling place once they request a ballot, which is delivered to them via postal mail. This option is available to uniformed service voters and overseas voters as well. You can request a ballot on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions website.
What Are The Benefits of Absentee Voting?
Absentee voting has proven to be a simple and convenient option for many voters. For instance, since Maine has no-excuse absentee voting, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created an increase in absentee ballot requests. During the 2020 election, 532,272 absentee ballots were issued compared to only 196,710 absentee ballots two years prior.
Today, absentee voting remains a safe and convenient option for individuals who may be immunocompromised or prefer to vote outside of a polling place for other reasons. That includes voters with disabilities, who can always request an accessible absentee ballot that can be delivered electronically.
The Future Of Absentee Voting In Maine
Despite the many benefits of absentee voting, Maine does not have a permanent list. Making absentee voting permanent would significantly reduce the cost of staffing and equipping traditional polling places. This would bring financial savings to our municipalities and reduce the administrative burden on our election officials. Not to mention the benefit of making voting easier, while increasing voter participation across the state.
Arizona, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, Virginia and the District of Columbia all send absentee ballots automatically for each election, and it’s high time Maine joined those states. Mainers For Working Families believes our democracy is better off when it is made accessible to everyday Americans. That’s why we support future efforts to secure a permanent absentee voting option in Maine.