New Executive Order Clarifies Rules For Election Officials

Thursday, April 2, 2020
LWVME Press Release

[PORTLAND, ME] - Maine advocacy groups welcome Governor Mills’ new executive order on election procedures for July and are glad to see that the order:

● Changes the 21-day cutoff for mail and 3rd party registration to a 7-day cutoff,
● Explicitly allows secure drop boxes for returning ballots, and
● Changes the deadline for clerks to give notice of early absentee processing from 60 to
21 days.

These are common-sense changes that will help people register, vote, and have their ballots counted in a timely and secure manner.

The coalition continues to urge the governor and the secretary of state to strongly advise election officials to notify voters if their ballot is rejected and give the voter a chance to “cure” the mistake. Municipal clerks will sometimes reject submitted absentee ballots where the voter has changed their signature since first registering to vote, resulting in a signature mismatch. The group also encourages towns and cities to maintain robust in-person voting to the maximum extent possible while considering public health so that all eligible Mainers can exercise their right to vote however is safest and most accessible for them.

The coalition promotes absentee voting and safe polling places by informing the public about changes to the election process. New data proves that Mainers are requesting absentee ballots at a high rate. Organizations within the coalition recommend Maine voters able to request their absentee ballot do so.

For the general election, the coalition asks the secretary of state to mail absentee ballots or request forms to all registered Maine voters, to pay for return postage, and to make online submission of voter registration documents possible. Given the troubling stories of unsafe crowding, long-lines, and voters turned away in other states’ primaries, it is important that Maine gets ahead of such problems for our general election. State and federal officials must work together to ensure that Maine receives and utilizes existing and new federal resources to guarantee both elections run smoothly.

The Maine Elections and Voting Coalition includes: ACLU of Maine, MaineAFL-CIO, League of
Women Voters of Maine, Maine Conservation Alliance, Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition,
Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Service Employees Association -SEIU Local 1989, Maine Equal
Justice, Maine Women’s Lobby Education Fund, RepresentUs, Planned Parenthood oand
Gateway Community Services.