Voter Registration in Maine
One of the most important decisions residents can make is the choice to register to vote in Maine. By applying for a voter registration card, eligible residents take up their rights and responsibilities as participants in the social and civic health of their communities. The state is heavily invested in encouraging positive voter experiences. Authorities make it easy to register and to change voter registration information so that residents can remain engaged and enrolled in electoral activities without hassle.
Municipal electoral officials can help voters answer common questions like, “Am I registered to vote?” and more. A variety of governmental agencies and partners are in place to assist prospective voters with their applications. Maine also consistently selects and supports policies that help make the electoral process voter-friendly, including early voting and generous absentee voting procedures for all residents.
Who can register to vote in Maine?
The first step in understanding how to register to vote in Maine is knowing who is eligible to apply. Prospective voters must be United States citizens and meet the criteria for legal residency in the state. State law is somewhat specific on what constitutes residency, but the guidelines are designed to be as inclusive as possible.
Voter registration applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age. However, residents who register at age 17 will not be allowed to vote until they have turned 18. Importantly, Maine is one of two states that allow convicted felons to vote even while they are imprisoned or otherwise serving their sentences.
Maine Voter Registration Deadline
There is no deadline in place for applicants who wish to register to vote in Maine in person. Applications submitted by mail or through voting drives must be turned in by end of business at least 21 days prior to Election Day.
How to Register to Vote in Maine
Eligible residents may register to vote in Maine by completing an application and turning it in at any approved location. Authorized locations accepting voter registration card applications include:
- Town offices or city halls.
- Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) branch offices.
- State and federal government agency offices.
- Voter registration drives.
- The Secretary of State’s (SOS) office in Augusta.
Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. Online voter registration is not available at this time.
Residents will need to provide their full names, addresses, party affiliations, dates of birth and contact information on their applications. All applications must be signed and must include either a driver’s license or a DMV non-driver ID card number or a Social Security Number (SSN).
Early Voting in Maine
Maine takes a different approach to early voting by voter registration card holders than do most other states. Where many states combine absentee in-person voting with early voting, Maine does not. Instead, state authorities specifically define early voting as “a time period before an election during which voters have the opportunity to cast a ballot at a designated voting place within their municipality, in the same manner as on Election Day.”
As a result of this distinction, early voting procedures remain under development and review. As of 2009, pilot programs had launched early voting in nine municipalities across the state. Research is being conducted on how to best implement those programs to the remainder of voters. For the immediate future, voters will need to contact their local election authorities for up-to-date information on whether Early Voting is available to them and, if so, how it works.
All voters, however, may effectively vote in advance of any election by using absentee voter ballots.
Maine Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Adults registered to vote in Maine who will be out of the state or out of the country on Election Day may apply for absentee ballots through standard state procedures. Alternatively, they may complete their registration and absentee ballot requests via Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA).
FPCAs may be turned in by fax, mail or email. Applicants may apply to receive their ballots by mail or digitally and may return them in either of those formats, as well. Absentee and FPCA applications and ballots are subject to different deadlines than other forms of registration or voting.
Maine Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Maine law makes voting through absentee ballots simple and hassle-free for voter registration card holders. Would-be absentee voters can register to vote by mail or in person using standard procedures and may request absentee ballots without providing any reason or evidence of qualification or “need.” Ballots may be submitted to municipal electoral clerks, the SOS office or Division of Elections offices.
Voter registration card holders may request absentee ballots up to three months before an election and as late as one week prior to Election Day. Emergency requests may be made in the final week before an election only under specific, unforeseeable circumstances. Absentee ballots may be submitted no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Voter Registration Cards in Maine
Maine voter registration cards display voters’ information on record, including protected personal and contact information, such as driver’s license numbers and Social Security Numbers (SSN). They also show voters’ addresses and party affiliations. Cards are available from local electoral authorities. Voters do not need their registration cards to cast their ballots.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Maine
Voters who need to apply for a voter registration change of address, change of name or change of political affiliation may do so using the same application form they used when registering for the first time. Forms may be submitted in person or by mail. Applicants seeking to change voter registration address information or party affiliation typically do not need to supply proof of the change.
Applicants seeking to update their names on their records may be required to show appropriate legal evidence of the change, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree. When updating any information, voters should be sure to also change the address on their driver’s license, as well as on other important DMV documentation, such as their car registrations.
How to Replace a Lost Maine Voter Registration Card
Maine voters can apply to receive new voter registration cards from their municipal electoral officials.