(Editor’s note: The following consists of excerpts from the State of Maine Voter Guide, a publication of the Maine Department of the Secretary of State.)
The information below explains how to register and vote in state elections. By voting, you are keeping Maine’s democracy strong and continuing a long history of citizen participation in the governing of our state and nation.
It’s easy to take our right to vote for granted – to decide that voting isn’t worth the effort or “doesn’t make a difference.”
The reality is that voting makes a tremendous difference. By casting a ballot, each citizen has a voice in deciding who will serve in office and what positions will be taken on major issues.
Voting is of critical importance to the strength and vitality of our system of government, and I congratulate you for recognizing its significance.
For our democracy to work, we must all participate in the process. Please register and vote and encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.
Who can register and vote in Maine?
To register, you must be a United States citizen, at least 17 years of age, and have established a fixed principal home in Maine.
To vote in a referendum or general election, you must be registered in the community where you reside, and be at least 18 years of age. A 17-year-old may vote in a primary election if that person will be 18 by the general election.
How do I register to vote?
You fill out a voter registration card.
Where do I go to register?
You can register to vote at your town office or city hall, through any Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch office, in most state and federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives.
Completed voter registration cards may be hand-delivered or mailed to your town office or city hall, or sent to the secretary of state’s office in Augusta.
Is there a deadline for registering?
There is no cutoff date for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall. If you want to register to vote by mail or through a voter registration drive, the cutoff date is the close of business on the 21st day before the election. That date was Oct. 16 for the Nov. 6 general and referendum election.
When is the next election?
The Nov. 6 general and referendum election is the next statewide election.
Where do I go to vote?
Every town and city has its own places where people vote, called voting places or “the polls.” (Editor’s note: see “Polling hours and places” on page 5.)
How do I mark a ballot?
Each ballot tells you how to mark your choices. If you have a question, ask an election official. If you make a mistake, fold your ballot and give it to an election official. The election official will give you another ballot.
Can I have help voting?
Yes. If you need help reading or marking the ballot, you may ask a relative or friend for assistance. The helper does not have to be a voter or old enough to vote. An election official can also help you read or mark a ballot. However, your employer or union official cannot help you vote.