Supporters of LD 156: 2012 Elections Commission appointed by 2012 Secretary of State Charlie Summers and chaired by Judge John Atwood; Disability Rights Center; Maine Municipal Association; American Civil Liberties Union of Maine; League of Women Voters of Maine; Maine Women’s Lobby; Speaking Up for Us; Equality Maine, Maine People’s Alliance and the Maine League of Young Voters
What is it?
• Creates an option for towns to adopt “early voting” – the ability to cast a ballot in person before Election Day. Not a mandate!
• Early voting is different from in-person absentee voting because ballots are cast immediately, not put aside at the clerk’s office to be officially cast on Election Day.
• Maine has test-driven early voting programs in 9 communities (Augusta, Bangor, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gorham, Hallowell, Saco, Scarborough, & Standish) with widespread support from all test sites.
Why do we need it?
• Voting is the cornerstone of democracy, and Maine should strive to make it as easy as possible for every qualified person to cast a ballot.
• True early voting would make it easier for senior citizens, people with disabilities, working moms, lower-wage workers, people with limited transportation and all Mainers to vote.
• Early voting will ease long lines on Election Day, making it easier for people to vote that day as well.
• In some towns, absentee ballots account for 60% of votes cast. Early voting reduces the administrative burden on clerks on Election Day.
“I had the honor of chairing the 2012 Elections Commission…the Commission unanimously recommended that the Legislature consider an amendment to our Constitution to allow Early Voting.” – Judge John Atwood, Chair of the 2012 Elections Commission
“During the pilot project many residents expressed that they were pleased for the opportunity to cast their ballot early, and that there were no waiting lines. Still to this day residents ask when we’ll be doing the early voting again.” – Mary Chapman, Town Clerk, Standish