Maine’s online system for applying for absentee ballots became available for use Monday for the November election.

The state’s Online Absentee Ballot Request Service has been in use since since 2008, but the state experienced a slight delay this year in getting it up and running, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a news release.

“Any registered Maine voter may choose to vote absentee, either via mail or in person at their town or city hall prior to Election Day,” Dunlap said. “Voters do not need to provide a reason to vote absentee.”

Any registered Maine voter living in the United States can apply for an absentee ballot online by filling out an electronic request form that asks voters to provide personal data and a mailing address. The applications are forwarded to town or city clerk offices, where they are processed and mailed back to the applicant in early October.

In addition to mailing an absentee ballot, Maine voters can also fill out a ballot and return it to the town office in person by Election Day.

Maine voters broke records in the July primary when they requested and cast more than 200,000 votes by absentee ballot, and Dunlap thinks that number will triple to about 600,000 in November, as voters and election officials guard against the spread of COVID-19 in Maine.

The Secretary of State Elections Division, working with the state’s online service provider, InforME, has attempted to improve the design of the absentee ballot application page. Dunlap said the state is also providing absentee ballots that voters with disabilities can cast privately and independently.

Kristen Muszynski, Dunlap’s spokeswoman, said applicants should receive absentee ballots by Oct. 3, or 30 days before the election.

Muszynski said her office is advising Mainers who vote absentee to mail their ballots no later than seven days before the Nov. 3 election because of possible delays experienced by the U.S. Postal Service.

Dunlap has said his office does not have “acute concerns” about the postal service delivering completed ballots by Election Day, but President Trump has attempted to overhaul the postal service less than three months before the election, and has said mailed ballots are susceptible to fraud, although there has been no evidence of this in past elections.

Anyone with questions about the absentee voting process in Maine is being encouraged to visit the Department of Secretary of State Absentee Voter Information webpage, or to call the Division of Elections at 624-7650.

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