Voting Access

The Voting Access Program seeks to empower individuals with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. The Voting Access Advocate educates individuals with disabilities on their voting rights. The program also trains election officials on accessibility and conducts monitoring at polling places to ensure compliance with state and federal law.


DRM VOTING RIGHTS HOTLINE

Questions or concerns regarding voting access in Maine?

Want information about getting involved?

Call 800.452.1948


2024 Voting Rights Guide

Voting Rights

  • I can Register to Vote in Maine if:

    I am a United States citizen;

    I live in a town or city in Maine; and

    Will be 18 years old by Election Day.
  • If I am registered to vote in Maine, I can vote. I do not need to show ID to get a ballot.
  • I may vote by absentee ballot instead of voting in person at the voting place. I do not need a reason to vote by absentee ballot.
  • If I am not registered to vote, I can register on Election Day and vote. (I must register in person and must show ID and proof of where I live.)
  • I cannot be turned away from my voting place. I must be allowed to vote a challenged ballot. (If I don’t have ID or proof of where I live, I will cast a challenged ballot. I may be asked to show ID after the election.)
  • If I am in line at the voting place at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, I still may register and vote.
  • I may see a sample ballot and get help on how to mark my ballot before I vote. I also may ask for help to read or mark my ballot.
  • If I make a mistake, I can get a new ballot.
  • I have the right to use Maine’s Accessible Voting System (AVS) at my voting place.
  • I may not be harassed when voting or be pressured about how to vote.
  • If I am under guardianship, I may vote.

2024 Election Information

State Primary Election: Tuesday, June 11th

  • March 4th: Absentee ballots can be requested.
  • May 4th: Absentee ballots previously requested will be mailed. In-person absentee voting begins.
  • May 14th: Deadline to register to vote online and by mail. After this deadline, you can only register to vote at your Town/City Clerk’s Office or at your polling location on election day.
  • May 30th at 5:00pm: Deadline to request an absentee ballot.
  • June 11th: Election Day.
  • June 11th at 8:00pm: Absentee ballots must be received before the polling place closes.

Presidential Election: Tuesday, November 5th

  • August 5th: Absentee ballots can be requested.
  • October 5th: Absentee ballots previously requested will be mailed. In-person absentee voting begins.
  • October 15th: Deadline to register to vote online and by mail. After this deadline, you can only register to vote at your Town/City Clerk’s Office or at your polling location on election day.
  • October 31st at 5:00pm: The deadline to request an absentee ballot.
  • November 5th: Election Day
  • November 5th at 8:00pm: Absentee ballots must be received before the polling place closes.

Can I Register to Vote?

You can register to vote in Maine if you:

  • Are a citizen of the United States;
  • Are a resident of Maine and the county where you plan to register;
  • Are at least 17 years old at the time you register; and
  • Will be at least 18 years old before the next election.

Your disability does not affect your right to vote.

How do I Register to Vote?

You can register to vote online, by mail, or in-person at your Town/City Clerk’s Office. You can also register to vote at your polling place on election day.

Online Voter Registration:

  • Visit the Secretary of State's online registration portal to sign up.
  • To register to vote online, you must know: your driver’s license number, state ID number, OR the last four digits of your social security number.
  • Online voter registration will close three weeks before every election and reopen the day after an election.
  • Online voter registration is not automatic. Your application must be approved by your Town Clerk before you become a registered voter. To ask how long it will take for your voter registration application to be successfully processed, please ask your Town/City Clerk’s Office.

In-person Voter Registration at Town/City Clerk's Office:

  • Locate your Town/City Clerk’s Office.
  • Show your Maine Driver’s License, Maine State ID OR provide your Social Security Number at the Town Office.
  • Other accepted documents are: birth certificate, signed social security card, student ID, utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck.
  • Complete the voter registration card.

By Mail:

  • You can contact your Town/City Clerk to have a voter registration card mailed to you. You can also print out a voter registration application and complete it at home.
  • Provide copies of documents that verify your identity and prove you are a Maine resident. Accepted documents include: Driver’s License, State ID, birth certificate, signed social security card, student ID, utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck.
  • Mail your application and identity verification documents to your Town/City Clerk.
  • Note: if you choose to register by mail, you must register by the close of business 21 days before Election Day.

To learn more about how to register to vote, visit the Secretary of State's website.

Absentee Voting

What is Absentee Voting and How Does it Work?

  • Absentee voting allows you to cast your ballot without going to your polling place on Election Day.
  • Any registered voter can cast an absentee ballot.
  • You do not need a reason to request an absentee ballot.
  • Note: If voting absentee by mail, plan ahead to make sure your ballot is received in time to be counted. The Secretary of State’s Office recommends you request your ballot more than 14 days before an election and you place your completed ballot in the mail 7 days before the election.

How Do I Get an Absentee Ballot?

There are four ways to request an absentee ballot in Maine. If you are a person with a disability or will be 65 years old by the next election, you are eligible for Ongoing Absentee Voter Status.

  1. Request a ballot online.
  2. Call your Town/City Clerk and ask they mail a ballot to you.
  3. Go to your Town Clerk’s Office and pick up a ballot.
  4. Apply for Ongoing Absentee Voter Status.

Ongoing Absentee Voter Status

As of 2/1/2024, if you have a disability or you will be 65 years old by the next election, you can request, “Ongoing Absentee Voter Status.”

  • Once approved, an absentee ballot will automatically be mailed to you for each election.
  • To enroll, you must first be a registered voter. Next, complete the form and send or hand deliver the form to your Town/City Clerk’s Office.

    Please note: If a voter with ongoing absentee ballot status moves out of a municipality, the voter’s ongoing status is also terminated. The voter must submit a new application to the voter’s new residence municipality.

Status as an “Ongoing Absentee Voter” will only be terminated for an individual by:

  • The written request of the voter;
  • The death or disqualification of the voter;
  • The cancellation of the voter’s registration in the Central Voter Registration System;
  • The return of an absentee ballot by the postal service as undeliverable; or
  • The designation of the voter as “inactive” in the Central Voter Registration System.

When Can I Request an Absentee Ballot?

  • You can request an absentee ballot starting three months before Election Day. Please note: absentee voting does not start until 30 days before each election.
  • The deadline to request an absentee ballot is the Thursday before each election at 5:00pm.

What is In-Person Absentee Voting?

  • This is when you go to your Town Clerk’s office and complete your ballot in the office.
  • In-person absentee voting begins 30 days before the election

What is the Deadline for Returning my Absentee Ballot?

  • Absentee ballots must be received by your Town Clerk by 8:00pm on Election Day.

    Absentee ballots received after 8:00pm on Election Day will not be counted.

Accessible Voting

I Can’t Complete a Paper Ballot by Myself, but I Don’t Want Someone to Help Me, What are My Options?

You have the right under federal law to vote privately and independently.

  • You can request an electronic accessible absentee ballot
  • You can use the Accessible Voting System (AVS) at your polling place on election day.

What is an Electronic Accessible Absentee Ballot?

  • If you have a disability that prevents you from voting privately and independently, you can vote by electronic accessible absentee ballot.
  • The electronic accessible absentee ballot is compatible with: JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver.
  • The ballot is requested and completed from an electronic device.
  • You must be registered to vote before you request the ballot.
  • The instructions on how to receive, complete, and submit your ballot will be emailed to you.
  • You can request an electronic accessible absentee ballot online.

What is Maine’s Accessible Voting System?

Maine uses ExpressVote as its Accessible Voting System (AVS). The ExpressVote:

  • Is a ballot-marking device that allows individuals with disabilities to vote with privacy and independence;
  • Allows you to choose between a touch screen and a keyboard with audio;
  • Marks your selected choices and prints the completed ballot; and
  • Is not connected to the internet. The machine does not store your choices.

Learn more about the accessibility features of the ExpressVote!

What to Expect on Election Day?

Where do I Go to Vote?

  • On Election Day, you must go to your polling place to vote.
  • Your polling place depends on where you live.
  • If you do not know where your polling place is, call your Town Clerk’s Office or check online.

Do I Need to Bring Anything with Me When I Go Vote?

  • If you are a registered voter, you do not need to bring anything with you to the polling place.
  • If you are not registered to vote on Election Day, you must bring a form of identification with you that proves you are a Maine resident.
  • If you do not bring identity verification documents, you can cast a provisional ballot. You may be asked to show documents after the election to make sure your vote counts.

How do I Mark my Paper Ballot?

  • You will be provided a pen to mark your ballot.
  • Each ballot will explain how to mark your choices.
  • If you make a mistake, you may fold your ballot, give it to an election official and ask for a new ballot.

How do I Ask for Help?

  • The people who work at the polling location are called “poll workers.”
  • When you check-in, ask the poll workers for help.
  • You can ask for a poll worker to read the ballot to you. You can also ask for a poll worker to mark your choices on your ballot for you.
  • Poll workers can only tell you the instructions on the ballot. They can not explain the candidates or the ballot items to you.

Individuals Under Legal Guardianship

  • You have the right to vote if you are under a guardianship.
  • Your guardian cannot force you to vote a certain way.
  • Your guardian cannot vote for you.
  • Your vote is your decision.
  • If you are told that you cannot vote, you are not allowed to vote alone, or you are pressured to vote a certain way, contact Disability Rights Maine at 800.452.1948.

Check out this video to learn more about guardianship & voting.

I'm in a Hospital/Facility and I Can't Leave - How Do I Vote?

  • If you know you will be in a facility on the day of an election, vote by absentee ballot. You have to request the ballot from the Town/City Clerk’s where you live.
  • If you are unexpectedly in a facility within four days of an election, you can vote utilizing the, “Special Circumstances Ballot.” To retrieve a special circumstances ballot, call your Town/City Clerk.

I Don't have a Permanent Address, Can I Vote?

Yes. If you don’t have a permanent address or are unhoused, you can still vote.

  • If you don’t have documents proving your identity or residence, you can register to vote by providing the last four digits of your social security number.
    • If you don’t have any of these forms of documentation, please contact DRM’s Voting Access Advocate for assistance at 800.452.1948.
  • For your address, document the location where you have been sleeping, whether that is a shelter or a specific area outside.

Voting Rights Violation

If you believe your voting rights were violated, contact DRM! You can call 800.452.1948 or complete our online intake form.

If you believe your right to vote independently and privately at your polling place was violated, you can file a complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office. The Voting Access Advocate from DRM can assist you through this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get transportation to the polls?

  • Plan ahead! Ask family, friends, or your service provider for a ride.
  • If you know you won’t have transportation to the polls, consider voting by absentee ballot.
  • If you want to vote in person on election day and you can’t get a ride from your service provider, please contact DRM.

Can I find out if I'm already registered to vote?

Can I bring notes with me when I vote?

  • Yes. You can bring notes with you to help make your choices.
  • You can see what is on your ballot using Vote 411. There, you can view your ballot beforehand and research the candidates so you are informed when you go to the polls.

Can I bring someone with me to help me?

  • Yes. You may bring an individual to assist you in voting. This person can read the ballot to you and mark your choices. This can be a family member, friend, or service provider. Under the law, this person can not be your employer or union official.

What if I go to the wrong polling place?

  • If you go to the wrong polling place, ask an election official for help. Give the election official your address and ask them where your correct polling place is.

What happens if my polling place is not physically accessible I can't get inside?

  • Call your Town/City Clerk’s Office immediately. Tell the individual who answers the phone you cannot enter the polling place and you need to vote.
  • A poll worker will bring the appropriate materials out to you and collect your ballot when you are done.
  • You have the right to vote- polling places are required by law to be accessible! If this happens to you, please consider calling Disability Rights Maine at 800.452.1948 or the Elections Division at the Secretary of State’s Office at 207.624.7736.

What happens when I get to my polling place?

  • If the entrance to the polling place is not easily identifiable, there should be signs directing you inside of the building.
  • You may have to wait in line for a few minutes. If you need assistance, ask a poll worker for help.
  • A poll worker will direct you to the correct check-in table. You will check-in at a table that corresponds with the first letter of your last name.
  • At the table, the poll workers will ask you to confirm your name and address. The poll workers will cross you off their list. Then, they will give you your ballot.
  • Proceed into the voting area. Find an empty booth and complete your ballot.
  • Once your ballot is complete, follow the directions to exit the voting area.
  • Before you leave, you will place your ballot into a scanner. It is this scanner that counts your votes.
  • Once you have put your ballot into the scanner, you are done!

How do I ask to use the accessible voting system?

  • You will check-in at a table and be asked to confirm your name and address. At this table, tell the poll workers, “I would like to vote using the Accessible Voting System.”
  • You will then be escorted to the machine and provided instructions on how to use it.
  • Under federal law, the Accessible Voting System must be arranged so you can vote privately. Other voters should not be able to see the screen of the Automatic Voting System.
  • If the machine is not arranged to protect your privacy, ask the poll workers to reposition or move the machine. Do not move the machine yourself.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?

  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, you have the right to ask for a new ballot.
  • Get the attention of a poll worker. Tell the poll worker you made a mistake and would like a new ballot.
  • Your ballot with the mistake will not be counted. The ballot will be taken by an election official and placed in a special envelope clearly marked, “Spoiled Ballots.”

Additional Voting Resources

DRM's Voter Information Rack Cards

Municipalities

DRM's Voting Access program offers trainings to election officials and poll workers on polling place accessibility requirements and the best practices for interacting with voters with disabilities. Please contact DRM's Voting Access Advocate if your municipality would like to receive this training.

Please note, the program cannot provide legal advice or an official opinion that a polling place is fully accessible. To check that your polling place is in compliance of the law, please utilize the “2016 ADA Polling Place Checklist” published by the United States Department of Justice.

Self-Advocacy & Voting

From the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN): "On election day, people pick who they want to represent them in elected office. This process is an important part of life in the community. It matters because people who make policy decisions change our everyday lives. Everything from curb cuts to anti-discrimination laws can change based on who holds elected office.

Understanding voting and how to know who to vote for is an important part of living in the community. People with disabilities deserve to understand how to vote. That’s where our new plain language voting toolkit comes in.

The toolkit focuses on the process of voting, and understanding how to prepare to vote on election day. This toolkit answers questions many first time voters have, such as:

  • What is voting?
  • Why should I vote?
  • What’s the difference between a primary election and a general election?
  • How does the Electoral College work?
  • How do I get ready to vote?
  • How can I get disability accommodations when I vote?

Your Vote Counts is available in two versions:

  • Our Easy Read Edition. The Easy Read version has three files: the main toolkit, a glossary of all the words used in the toolkit, and a section about voting laws in every state. The Easy Read version uses pictures along with large text, and has more white space.
  • A Plain Language Version without accompanying graphics. It includes a full glossary of all the words used in the toolkit, and a separate part about voting laws in every state.

Visit ASAN's website to download their guide(s)

You can also learn more about self-advocacy and voting from self-advocates in Maine with this new video from Community Connect: Your vote, every vote!

Voter Information Sources: Candidates and Issues

Vote411: https://www.vote411.org/lwvme

Voter Guide - Ballot: www.ballotready.org

League of Women Voters of Maine - Information and Events

 Resources

 News