AUGUSTA— Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap wants voters to participate in next month’s election, and he’s encouraging people to take advantage of absentee ballots.

He says 217 cities and towns have opted to accept electronic absentee ballot requests, allowing voters to fill out and submit their absentee ballot requests online.

Alternatively any voter, regardless of town, may fill out the form online, print it out and bring it to town hall. Voters also can simply print the form and fill it out by hand.

Dunlap, the state’s top election official, says the goal is to encourage participation and “give Mainers every opportunity to participate in the electoral process.”