Voting is the cornerstone of democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. In Maine, you can vote early by mail, vote early at your Town Clerk’s office, or vote on Election Day at your local polling place. Here's what you need to know.
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Registering to Vote
You must be at least 18 years old on Election Day, a U.S. citizen (born here or naturalized) and a resident of Maine to vote. If you're not sure whether you've already registered to vote, check with your local election official, the Town Clerk. Find your Town Clerk's contact information here.
If you are unhoused or living in a shelter, you have the right to vote. You can register with the town/city you live in, even if you don’t have a traditional physical address. If you live outside, you can give a description of the place you live to your Town Clerk under oath, instead of other residency documentation.
If you are currently incarcerated, you are eligible to register to vote in Maine through the Town Clerk’s office in the town/city where you lived prior to incarceration.
If you are a student who is attending a university in Maine as an out-of-state student, you can establish a voting residence in Maine as long as you are not registered to vote in another state. Your dorm, apartment, or house address can qualify as your voting residence if you can provide documentation to prove you currently reside there.
How to Register
If you are new to Maine, you have moved within Maine, or have never voted, you will have to register to vote. You can register to vote by mail, in person at your Town Office or at your polling place on Election Day.
Print, fill out and mail your voter registration form to your Town Clerk. If this is your first time registering to vote in Maine, you must submit a copy of an official document that has your name and current address on it. This could be your Maine-issued ID, a current utility bill, a paystub, a bank statement or other government document.
If you choose to register to vote by mail or through a third party, such as a voter registration drive, you must mail your voter registration by the close of business 15 days before the election. If you are 17 years old before the registration deadline but turn 18 years old on or before Election Day, you may still submit your voter registration by mail. If you miss the mail deadline, you can still register to vote at your Town Clerk's office before Election Day, or at your polling place on Election Day.
You can go to your Town Clerk’s office in person to fill out your voter registration form. If this is your first time registering to vote in Maine, you must bring an official document that has your name and current address on it to show the Town Clerk. This could be your Maine-issued ID, a current utility bill, a paystub, a bank statement or other government document.
If you can’t print out the registration form or you can't make it to the Town Clerk's office in-person, you can call your Town Clerk and have them mail it to you. Fill it out and mail it back, or drop it off in person at your Town Clerk’s office.
Find your Town Clerk's contact information here.
If you weren't able to register to vote before Election Day, you are able to register to vote and cast your ballot on Election Day at your polling place.
Early Voting in Maine
In Maine, you are able to vote early by absentee ballot - by either requesting it in advance and mailing it in/dropping it off at your Town Clerk's office, or by voting early, in person at your Town Clerk's office. Contact your Town Clerk or check your town's website to find out the deadlines to request and submit absentee ballots.
Requesting an Absentee Ballot
After registering (or if you’re already registered) to vote, you can request your absentee ballot online. You can also go to the Town Clerk’s office in-person to fill out a ballot request form.
If you can't request your form online, and you can't make it to the Town Clerk's office in-person, you can also call your Town Clerk and ask them to send you an absentee ballot request form. Fill it out and mail it back or drop it off at your Town Clerk's office.
The Town Clerk will process your request form and mail you an absentee ballot.
Voting Using an Absentee Ballot
Once you’ve made up your mind about how you’re going to vote, complete your absentee ballot.
You can return your absentee ballot by mail, or in person at your Town Clerk's office. Additionally, most municipalities will have a secure ballot drop box either inside or outside the Town Clerk's office, where you can deposit your absentee ballot. You can call your Town Clerk to learn whether your community has a secure ballot dropbox, or check your town's website. Find your Town Clerk’s contact information here.
You can track whether your Town Clerk has received your ballot by visiting this website.
Your Town Clerk must receive your completed absentee ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day for it to be counted.
In-Person Absentee Voting
You may vote early at your clerk's office beginning at least 30 days before Election Day - a process known as "in-person absentee voting." Check with your Town Clerk to confirm when in-person absentee voting will begin and their office hours. You DO NOT have to request an absentee ballot in advance to vote in this way. You just have to come to your Town Clerk's office. Generally, in-person absentee voting ends on the Thursday before Election Day.
Ranked Choice Voting
Maine uses ranked choice voting to determine the presidential and congressional races. Some municipalities have also adopted ranked choice voting in municipal elections — check with your Town Clerk or check your town/city's website to determine if they use ranked choice voting in municipal elections.
Maine does not use ranked choice voting in state elections for governor and your state representatives and state senators.
The Maine Secretary of State's website has useful guidance about how ranked choice voting works, and how to properly mark your ballot.
Voting on Election Day
Check your city/town’s website, or call the Town Clerk’s office, to find your polling place and the hours it will be open. You can also find out your polling place by using this link.
If you’ve already registered to vote, you do not need an ID to vote in Maine. And if you haven’t registered yet, you can do so at your polling place on Election Day. If you plan on registering on Election Day, you’ll be asked to prove your identity and current address. You can do this by showing your Maine-issued ID, a current utility bill, a paystub, a bank statement or other government document.
Even if you have none of this documentation, you can still register to vote. You will have to sign a legal document known as an affidavit attesting to your identity and eligibility to vote.
You can’t be turned away from your polling place. If you think you’re eligible to vote but a poll worker questions this, ask to cast a “challenged ballot.”
If you need help reading or marking your ballot, you can bring a friend or ask a poll worker to help you. And if you make a mistake, you can ask for a new ballot.
When voting on Election Day, as long as you are in line to vote at your polling place by 8:00pm you are eligible to register to vote and cast your ballot.
Finally, voter intimidation is illegal. Examples of voter intimidation include any person or group of people aggressively questioning a voter about their qualifications to vote, such as their citizenship, any person or group of people spreading false information about voting requirements, such as the ability to speak English, and other harassment, particularly toward voters with limited English proficiency and people of color.
If someone tries to pressure you into voting a certain way or not at all, report it to a polling official. They are well-trained and there to help. You may also report the incident to the ACLU of Maine by calling 207-774-5444.