Secretary of State Bellows testified today in support of a bill that provides a process for a voter to request absentee voter status for all elections. The voter would then automatically receive an absentee ballot for all elections until the status is terminated. Under current Maine law, voters must request an absentee ballot for each election in which they do not plan to vote in-person.
“This legislation would benefit all Maine voters who prefer absentee voting – particularly seniors and voters with permanent disabilities,” said Secretary Bellows. “This is a simple step we can take toward our goal of making voting more accessible for all Maine citizens,” said Secretary Bellows. “This is a simple step we can take toward our goal of making voting more accessible for all Maine citizens and increasing voter participation.”
Absentee voting has grown in popularity during recent years, reaching 514,429 absentee votes cast and counted in the November 2020 General Election, approximately 62% of all votes cast and up from just over 258,000 absentee ballots cast in 2016.
Secretary Bellows, in her testimony, advised that technology upgrades will be necessary for the State of Elections division to maintain a single permanent absentee list at the state level, to ensure integrity in the process, which she said is achievable by the bill’s implementation deadline of 2023.