Regarding the effort to allow early voting in Maine, I would like to clarify one point (“Maine House OKs early voting measure,” Feb. 3).

Absentee voting, which we have in Maine currently, and early voting, which we do not have yet, are basically the same. The only difference is the way in which ballots are counted.

At this time, absentee ballots are returned to the clerk’s office to be stored in a separate location until Election Day, at which time the ballots are cast into the ballot box machine to be tallied.

With early voting, ballots would be cast into the ballot box as soon as they arrive at the clerk’s office, but still would not be tallied until Election Day.

The advantage to the early voting method is twofold.

First, it eliminates the requirement for a clerk to feed thousands of ballots manually into the box on Election Day. Instead, it allows the ballots to be fed into the box as they are delivered back to the clerk’s office over the period lasting more than a month.

Second, it is more secure for the voter, because the ballot is put into the box and stays there, rather than being stored in one place and then moved a second time to the ballot box on Election Day. This decreases the risk of ballots being misplaced.

Opponents of early voting worry that results might be released about candidates before Election Day, which could sway Election Day voters. This is not a valid concern, however, because no ballots would be tallied until the ballot box is closed at 8 p.m. on Election Day, when polls close.

Thank you for allowing me to share my insight.

Benjamin Ingrao

Portland