Early in-person absentee voting is underway across Maine in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, Blaine House, State House, and local councils and schools boards.

So far, Democrats are requesting six out of every 10 absentee ballots – a much higher rate than Republicans, many of whom oppose absentee voting and are more likely to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8.

“Maine voters have many convenient options for casting their ballot: In person absentee at their town or city hall, at home at their convenience, or in person on Election Day,” Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who oversees elections, said in a statement.

“Whichever option works best for them, voters have the security of knowing their vote will count,” Bellows continued. “Maine runs secure and accessible elections, and we’re excited to see so many voters already engaged and voting four weeks ahead of Election Day.”

Although the next presidential election is two years away, there are plenty of high-profile races for voters to consider. And the winners of those races will be setting policy for years to come, including taxes, workforce development and health care, including women’s access to abortion.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is being challenged by former two-term Republican Paul LePage, who is seeking a third term. And all 186 seats in the Legislature – 35 seats in the Senate and 151 in the House – are up for grabs.


While Republicans nationally have criticized absentee voting, LePage’s campaign alerted his supporters about the start of early in-person voting, imploring them to “make a plan to vote.” The social media post takes supporters to his website, which lists information about obtaining absentee ballots.

Both of Maine’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives also are up for reelection.

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden is locked in a closely watched reelection rematch against former Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the more conservative 2nd Congressional District. And Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree is being challenged by political newcomer, Republican Ed Thelander, a former Navy SEAL, in the more liberal 1st Congressional District.

So far, Democrats are embracing absentee and early voting far more than their Republican counterparts.

As of Tuesday afternoon, registered Democrats made up 59 percent of the nearly 85,000 absentee ballot requests, followed by unenrolled voters, who made up about 20 percent. Republicans made up about 16 percent.

Those percentages, if they hold through Election Day, would mark the largest share of absentee ballot requests from Democrats.


And they also would suggest that the criticism and skepticism about early and absentee voting sown during the 2020 presidential election have firmly taken root with Republicans.

In 2020, Democrats accounted for 46.7 percent of the 532,272 absentee ballots issued, while Republicans accounted for nearly 24 percent. That’s just shy of unenrolled voters, who accounted for nearly 26 percent.

Absentee voting accelerated during the pandemic. Before that, only 196,710 absentee ballots were requested for the 2018 gubernatorial elections, with Democrats accounting for 43 percent, Republicans at 28 percent and unenrolled voters at 25.7 percent.

Absentee ballots may be requested here.

Early in-person voting will continue through Nov. 3.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.