Making Democracy Work

How to Vote in Maine

Political Parties & Party Enrollment

Voters do not need to be enrolled in a party to vote in a general election, on any statewide ballot question, or in a municipal election. Voters must be enrolled in a party to vote in that party's primary election or caucus.

Voters who have already registered but have not enrolled in a party may enroll in a party at the polls on Election Day. Any voter who wishes to change party enrollment must do so at least 15 days before they vote. For the primary election now scheduled for July 14, that would be on or before June 29

A voter may change party enrollment at anytime after 3 months from the date on which the voter last enrolled.

Use the procedure for updating your voter registration to enroll in a party or change your party enrollment.

Maine Voter Rights & Eligibility

You can vote in Maine if you are:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • An established resident in the town where you intend to register and vote
  • At least 18 years of age

You cannot be turned away from your voting place if you meet those requirements.

You must be allowed to vote a challenged ballot even if you don't have ID or proof of where you live.

You must first register to vote. As of January 1, 2020, you may pre-register when you are 16, but you must be 18 years old to vote.

Registered voters who are 17 years old may vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election.

Registered voters are not required to show ID in order to vote.

Voters with questions can call the State's Elections Division in Augusta at (207) 624-7650.

Voters can also call the toll free election protection hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The Election Protection voter empowerment program is a coordinated nonpartisan effort to address obstructions of voting rights.

Click here for more information on establishing residency from the Maine Secretary of State's web site.

For more information on voter rights in Maine, click here.

Student Voting

Students have the right to register and vote in the town where they attend school. You must establish a voting residence there. Read more about Maine's residency under Maine's election laws.

You can establish a voting residence at your Maine school address even if that's a dorm or apartment. In other words, as a student, you must meet the same residency requirements as all other potential voters. Read more about Maine's residency under Maine's election laws.

If you pay "out-of-state tuition" as a student at a Maine college or university, you can still make Maine your voting residence.

If you are registered to vote in another state, you may vote by absentee ballot in that state.

If you were from Maine before going away to school, you may still register and vote in Maine (e.g., at your parents' home address) as long as you do not register to vote in another state. The only way you will lose your Maine voting residency is if you "abandon" it by asserting residency in a new state.

U.S. citizens who are 18 years old have an unquestionable right to vote. That right cannot be denied based on compliance with other laws that relate to residency, such as motor vehicle law.

However, you should be aware that if you register to vote in Maine, you will have declared residency in Maine, which could be interpreted to require compliance with other Maine laws, including the motor vehicle laws and tax laws. Read more here.

Remember, the requirements in Maine law that relate to residency may not create barriers that must be overcome before a citizen can exercise the right to vote. In other words, you need not prove that you are complying with motor vehicle law in order to exercise your right to vote.

Here's a great FAQ on student voting from the Brennan Center.

Voters with questions can call the State's Elections Division in Augusta at (207) 624-7650.

Register to Vote

It's never too late to register to vote in Maine.

You can register to vote until, and including, Election Day. There is no cut-off date for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall. On Election Day, you can register right at your polling place.

Voters do not need to be enrolled in a party to vote in a general election, on any statewide ballot question, or in a municipal election.

Register by mail:

Normally, if you register by mail, registrations must be received by your Town Clerk no later than three (3) weeks prior to Election Day. For the July 14 primary, this deadline has been extended to just one week prior to the election. You can pick up a Maine Voter Registration Application at your Town Office, at any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state & federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives. You can also print off the voter registration application here.

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address from the Secretary of State's web site.

You may also complete the National Mail Voter Registration Form from the website of the Election Assistance Commission.

Registrations may also be mailed to the Secretary of State in Augusta:

Bureau of Corporation, Elections and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333.

Registrations mailed to the Secretary of State should be received thirty (30) days prior to Election Day.

Register in person with your Town Clerk

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address.

In addition to your town office, you can register in person through any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state & federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives.

Click here for complete information on voting in Maine from the Secretary of State.

In 2019, Maine passed automatic voter registration(AVR), which is scheduled to go into full effect in January, 2022. Read more about Maine's AVR law.

Find Your Polling Place

To find your polling place, just enter your address at the Voter Information Lookup web page of the State of Maine.

Absentee Voting in Maine

Absentee voting allows you to cast a ballot without going to a polling location on Election Day. Any registered voter in Maine may cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person at a polling location on Election Day. Absentee voting is anonymous and convenient. You can request an absentee ballot by mail, by phone, online, or in person.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is normally the Thursday before Election Day unless the voter completes a special circumstances application, stating one of four allowable reasons for requesting an absentee ballot after this deadline. This deadline has been waived for the election on July 14, 2020. For future reference, the four reasons are:

  • An unexpected absence from the municipality during the entire time the polls are open on Election Day;
  • A physical disability, or an incapacity or illness that makes the voter unable to leave home or a treatment facility; or
  • An inability to travel to the polls because the voter is a resident of a coastal island ward or precinct.
  • Illness or incapacity that prevents the voter from leaving home or a treatment facility.

This special circumstances application must be signed by the voter.

 

Early Voting

Early voting is available in Maine through in-person absentee voting. When it is available, eligible voters may submit an absentee ballot in person in the office of an election official as described above under Absentee Voting. Ballots submitted in this way are cast in the same way as other absentee ballots, on Election Day or the day(s) before.

True early voting is defined by the Maine Secretary of State to mean a time period before an election during which voters have the opportunity to cast a ballot at a designated voting place within their municipality in the same manner as on Election Day. This is technically a different process than the in-person absentee voting, with ballots being cast by the voter during the early voting period. The Maine Constitution and Maine law currently prohibit true early voting.

Read more about Early Voting at the Secretary of State's web site.

Avoiding Problems at the Polls

Your Ballot, Your Vote. Don't panic if you registered to vote but your name is not on the list. Get help from a poll worker to make sure your vote is counted. Remember, Maine has same day registration. You can still register on Election Day. You may be directed to another polling place. Or you may be given a challenged ballot.

Challenged ballots are a safeguard for voters whose eligibility is in question on Election Day, including those whose voter registration is in doubt, who may have been purged from the voter list by mistake, or who registered by mail and have I.D. problems. No one who is eligible to vote should be turned away. (The only eligibility requirements are U.S. Citizenship, age of at least 18 years, and residency in the municipality where the person registers to vote.)

I.D. - Don't Go Without It. You may need to show identification. To be safe, bring your driver's license, or a paycheck, utility bill or government document that includes your name and street address. First-time voters who registered by mail may be asked to present I.D. prior to voting on Election Day. If you don't have appropriate I.D., you may vote a challenged ballot.

Writing on the Wall. Look at the signs at the polling place for directions on how to mark your ballot, a list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated. Among other things, information regarding what constitutes a spoiled ballot and instructions for securing a new ballot should be provided. If you make a mistake on a ballot, you can ask for another.

When in Doubt - Ask. Poll workers are there to help you. They'll show you how to mark your ballot and give you a challenged ballot if you need one. If you're at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Poll workers are a wealth of information for voters. And you won't be alone - this year promises to bring out more first-time voters than ever before. You won't be the only one with questions.

In and Out. You probably won't have to wait too long. But even if the line is long, don't leave without voting. The outcome of this election will be important!

Avoid the Crowds. Many voters feel they don't have time to vote, and that's why they haven't participated in the past. If you can, go to the polls during the off hours: 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Or you can vote at home! Absentee voting is anonymous and convenient. You can get an absentee ballot by phone, by mail, or in person from your Town Clerk.

Still have a problem? Voters with questions and concerns can call the toll free election protection hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The Election Protection voter empowerment program is a coordinated nonpartisan effort to address obstructions of voting rights. Questions can also be directed to the State's Elections Division in Augusta at 624-7650.

Don't think you know enough about the issues? Go online. Internet resources are available at most public libraries, and there is a wealth of information online. Keep an eye on the League of Women Voter's website for more on the candidates and the issues. Voters can find information on ballot initiatives, links to other informative web sites, information on how to find their polling place, candidates in their new electoral districts and much more.