AUGUSTA — Maine’s Democratic-controlled House has rejected a measure that would establish a process allowing towns to create in-person early voting systems.

The House voted 87-57 in favor of the bill, falling short of the two-thirds support needed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment.

Supporters say many Mainers vote use absentee ballots prior to elections, but the votes can’t be tallied until Election Day. They say that’s inefficient and overwhelms clerks.

But critics argued the measure would allow big cities like Portland to create early-voting systems, while small towns wouldn’t be able to afford it and would be put at a disadvantage.

The measure will be sent to the Democratic-led Senate for consideration.

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