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Everything Mainers need to know about absentee voting

(MGN)

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP/WGME) -- Maine voters can now request absentee ballots for November's election online.

Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said voters can vote by absentee ballot through mail or in-person at their town hall.

Mainers will elect a new governor to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Voters will also elect a U.S. senator, two representatives to Congress, state lawmakers and county officers.

The ballot will include a referendum question asking voters if they want to create a new tax on individual and family income above $128,400 to fund a universal home care program.

The program would offer universal home care to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities regardless of income.

Voters could also approve $200 million in bonds for various infrastructure projects.

Absentee voting allows a voter to cast a ballot without actually going to a voting location on Election Day and any registered voter can do it. In Maine, a person does not need to have a special reason in order to be able to vote absentee. Rather, absentee voting is a way to vote at a time that is most convenient for the voter.

Absentee ballots can be requested beginning 3 months before the election and up until the third business day prior to the election, which for the November 6, 2018 General Election and Referendum is Thursday, November 1. A voter’s municipal clerk must receive an absentee ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order for the vote to count.

Absentee ballots can be requested in the following way:

  • The voter or one of the voter’s immediate family members making a written request by completing an absentee ballot application. The ballot will then be mailed directly to the voter or to the immediate family member making the request. These ballots do not require witnesses in order to be obtained by the voter or the voter’s immediate family member, unless the voter receives assistance from another person in reading or marking the ballot.
  • A voter may make a written request for a third person (someone other than the voter or the voter’s immediate family member) to obtain and hand-deliver an absentee ballot. The voter must designate, in writing or on the application, the specific third person who will handle and deliver the ballot, and only that person may do so. In order for a ballot to be cast this way, there must be a notary public, a municipal clerk, a clerk of two courts or two other witnesses present.

Absentee voting can also be done in person at a voter’s municipal clerk’s office. Absentee ballots are available at least 30 days before the election at the clerk’s office and in-person absentee voting does not require an application. The deadline for absentee voting in the presence of a clerk is the Thursday before the election (November 1, 2018).

There are still four special circumstances that enable a voter to request an absentee ballot after the November 1st deadline:

  1. An unexpected absence from the voter’s municipality throughout the entirety of election day
  2. A physical disability
  3. An inability to travel to the polls because the voter is a resident of a coastal ward or precinct
  4. An incapacity or illness that results in a voter being unable to travel to their voting location

These four special circumstances require a special circumstances application, which can be obtained from a voter’s municipal clerk or from the Secretary of State. The voter must sign the application.

If you would like to vote by absentee ballot, please review the information provided by the Department of the Secretary of State.

Tune in to CBS 13 on November 6 for all of your Election Day coverage.

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