In-person absentee balloting is underway in Portland, Lewiston and several other Maine communities.
Voters can request that an absentee ballot be mailed to them, or they can complete the process in person in some locations. Either way, the ballots cast beginning Monday won't be counted until the polls close on Election Day.
Voters are being encouraged to utilize absentee ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has said as many at 600,000 people could vote that way.
“With everything going on, I really wanted to make sure my vote counted absolutely this year,” said one voter in Portland on Monday morning.
In Lewiston, City Clerk Kathleen Montejo said the city had been preparing for a long time prior to Oct. 5 to make sure voters could cast ballots at City Hall that morning.
“It’s been a long lead-up but we’re getting there,” said Montejo, adding that that her office is “really excited the voters are embracing the early polling place and are turning out.”
According to Montejo, there were already 15 people in line to vote at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, in Boothbay Harbor, a ballot drop box was unlocked on Friday evening.
Some voters said they were grateful for the option, like a man on his way to Tennessee for stem cell treatment. He said he would not be returning to Maine until February.
“That’s the only reason really,” he said.
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Another man swung by the town office to check his voter registration status.
Upon finding he was registered, he was ready to return home and told NECN and NBC10 Boston he would be voting in person on Election Day “because there are a few candidates I’m not sure of.”
Asked if President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis would impact their decision in the presidential race, neither man said that was a factor.