Friday last day to vote in-person absentee in Maine as voting numbers rise

Friday was the deadline to vote in-person absentee in Maine before the election on Nov. 3.Lines snaked around the block at Portland City Hall as people waited to vote.University of New England dental student Nevin Lessard waiting 2.5 hours in the cold to cast his ballot. “I felt waiting until Election Day was little too risky for me,” Lessard said.Channing Capuachino said she wanted to feel like she was part of something. “I want to make sure the vote is in, and I don’t really trust it happening through the mail,” Capuachino said.As of Thursday afternoon, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office reported that 446,426 Mainers had already returned their ballots. That is 42% of all registered voters in the state and 58% of the total turnout from 2016.Another 55,000 absentee ballots have been issued but not yet returned.During the pandemic, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in voting early and by absentee.The Biden campaign brought Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III to Maine to promote the last chance to vote in person before Election Day. “It is critically important, I think, given the uncertainty that we are facing, that people are able to make their voices heard and get in and vote early,” Kennedy said.Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes said three-quarters of all votes will be by absentee.Holmes said her office will reach out to residents who might have forgotten to sign their absentee ballot. “We pull their application for their absentee ballot, which usually has their phone number or email address. We contact them in whatever we can find. Track them down and say, ‘come back into City Hall, let’s get your signature on this, make sure your vote is counted,” Holmes said.Holmes said the processing of absentee ballots is already underway. “They’re getting fed through the machines right now, so we’re absolutely taking advantage of the early processing that the governor and Secretary of State’s office has allowed us to do,” Holmes said.While in-person voting ends Friday, people who requested absentee ballots have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to return it.

Friday was the deadline to vote in-person absentee in Maine before the election on Nov. 3.

Lines snaked around the block at Portland City Hall as people waited to vote.

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University of New England dental student Nevin Lessard waiting 2.5 hours in the cold to cast his ballot.

“I felt waiting until Election Day was little too risky for me,” Lessard said.

Channing Capuachino said she wanted to feel like she was part of something.

“I want to make sure the vote is in, and I don’t really trust it happening through the mail,” Capuachino said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office reported that 446,426 Mainers had already returned their ballots. That is 42% of all registered voters in the state and 58% of the total turnout from 2016.

Another 55,000 absentee ballots have been issued but not yet returned.

During the pandemic, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in voting early and by absentee.

The Biden campaign brought Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III to Maine to promote the last chance to vote in person before Election Day.

“It is critically important, I think, given the uncertainty that we are facing, that people are able to make their voices heard and get in and vote early,” Kennedy said.

Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes said three-quarters of all votes will be by absentee.

Holmes said her office will reach out to residents who might have forgotten to sign their absentee ballot.

“We pull their application for their absentee ballot, which usually has their phone number or email address. We contact them in whatever we can find. Track them down and say, ‘come back into City Hall, let’s get your signature on this, make sure your vote is counted,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the processing of absentee ballots is already underway.

“They’re getting fed through the machines right now, so we’re absolutely taking advantage of the early processing that the governor and Secretary of State’s office has allowed us to do,” Holmes said.

While in-person voting ends Friday, people who requested absentee ballots have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to return it.