Making Democracy Work

Elections & Voting 2018

Election Day November 6, 2018


Information on how to register and vote in Maine.

General Election, November 6, 2018

The next general election in Maine is November 6, 2018.

In this election, Maine voters will be voting on candidates for these offices:

Find the candidates running where you live here.

There will be five referendum questions on the statewide ballot: one citizen initiative and four bond questions.

You may also be voting on important local candidates or issues. Since the ballot is different for each town, look for voter information and a sample ballot at your town's website. Sample ballots may not be available very far in advance of the election. If your town has not posted a sample ballot, please call them and ask them to do so. Find contact information for your town on the State of Maine website.

Official election results, when they are available, will be posted here.

For a searchable list of candidates for office within Maine, visit the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Ranked Choice Voting in the November Election

In this general election, we WILL be using ranked choice voting to elect these offices:

  • U.S. Senate
  • U.S. Congress District 1 and District 2

We WILL NOT be using ranked choice voting to elect these offices:

  • Governor of Maine
  • Maine State Senate
  • Maine State House of Representatives
  • District Attorney, County Commissioner and other offices

Find more information about ranked choice voting here:

November Ballot Questions

Here are the five ballot questions that will appear on the November ballot:

Question 1: Citizen Initiative Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?

Question 2: Wastewater Bond Do you favor a $30,000,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems?

Question 3: Transportation Bond Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?

Question 4: Universities Bond Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine's public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine's economy and future workforce?

Question 5: Community College Bond Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine's community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education?

For more information on the statewide election, visit the Secretary of State's website. The Treasurer's Statement for November 2018 Referendum Election is now also available.

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide

Maine Voter Rights

You can vote in Maine if you are:

A citizen of the United States

An established resident in the town where you intend to register and vote

At least 18 years of age

You cannot be turned away from my voting place if you meet those requirements.

Registered voters are not required to show ID in order to vote.

You must be allowed to vote a challenged ballot even if you don't have ID or proof of where you live.

Voters with questions can call the State's Elections Division in Augusta at (207) 624-7650.

Voters can also call the toll free election protection hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The Election Protection voter empowerment program is a coordinated nonpartisan effort to address obstructions of voting rights.

For more information on voter rights in Maine, click here.

Student Voting

Students have the right to register and vote in the town where they attend school. You must establish a voting residence there. Read more about Maine's residency under Maine's election laws.

You can establish a voting residence at your Maine school address even if that's a dorm or apartment. In other words, as a student, you must meet the same residency requirements as all other potential voters. Read more about Maine's residency under Maine's election laws.

If you pay "out-of-state tuition" as a student at a Maine college or university, you can still make Maine your voting residence.

If you are registered to vote in another state, you may vote by absentee ballot in that state.

If you were from Maine before going away to school, you may still register and vote in Maine (e.g., at your parents' home address) as long as you do not register to vote in another state. The only way you will lose your Maine voting residency is if you "abandon" it by asserting residency in a new state.

U.S. citizens who are 18 years old have an unquestionable right to vote. That right cannot be denied based on compliance with other laws that relate to residency, such as motor vehicle law.

However, you should be aware that if you register to vote in Maine, you will have declared residency in Maine, which could be interpreted to require compliance with other Maine laws, including the motor vehicle laws and tax laws. Read more here.

Remember, the requirements in Maine law that relate to residency may not create barriers that must be overcome before a citizen can exercise the right to vote. In other words, you need not prove that you are complying with motor vehicle law in order to exercise your right to vote.

Here's a great FAQ on student voting from the Brennan Center.

Voters with questions can call the State's Elections Division in Augusta at (207) 624-7650.

Voter Eligibility

You are eligible to vote in Maine if you are:

A citizen of the United States
An established resident in the municipality where you intend to register and vote
At least 18 years of age

You must first register to vote. You may register when you are 17, but you must be 18 years old to vote.

Registered voters who are 17 years old may vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the general election.)

Click here for more information on establishing residency from the Maine Secretary of State's web site.

Register to Vote

It's never too late to register to vote in Maine.

You can register to vote until, and including, Election Day. There is no cut-off date for registering to vote in person at your town office or city hall. On Election Day, you can register right at your polling place.

Voters do not need to be enrolled in a party to vote in a general election, on any statewide ballot question, or in a municipal election.

Register by mail:

If you register by mail, registrations must be received by your Town Clerk no later than three (3) weeks prior to Election Day. You can pick up a Maine Voter Registration Application at your Town Office, at any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state & federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives.

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address from the Secretary of State's web site.

If you are out of state and cannot get to your Town Office, you may complete the National Mail Voter Registration Form from the website of the Election Assistance Commission.

Registrations may also be mailed to the Secretary of State in Augusta:

Bureau of Corporation, Elections and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333.

Registrations mailed to the Secretary of State should be received thirty (30) days prior to Election Day.

Register in person with your Town Clerk

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address.

In addition to your town office, you can register in person through any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state & federal social service agencies, or at voter registration drives.

Click here for complete information on voting in Maine from the Secretary of State.

Find Your Polling Place

To find your polling place, just enter your address at the Voter Information Lookup web page of the State of Maine:

Absentee Voting in Maine

Absentee voting allows you to cast a ballot without going to a polling location on Election Day. Any registered voter in Maine may cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person at a polling location on Election Day. Absentee voting is anonymous and convenient. You can request an absentee ballot by mail, by phone, online, or in person. For full information about Maine's Absentee Voting Service, click on this link to the Secretary of State's page.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is the Thursday before Election Day unless the voter completes a special circumstances application, stating one of four allowable reasons for requesting an absentee ballot after this deadline. The four reasons are:

  • An unexpected absence from the municipality during the entire time the polls are open on Election Day;
  • A physical disability, or an incapacity or illness that makes the voter unable to leave home or a treatment facility; or
  • An inability to travel to the polls because the voter is a resident of a coastal island ward or precinct.
  • Illness or incapacity that prevents the voter from leaving home or a treatment facility.

This special circumstances application must be signed by the voter.

You may vote in person, using an absentee ballot, at the municipal clerk's office as soon as absentee ballots are available, 30 to 45 days before the election, up to the Thursday before Election Day. You don't need to complete an absentee ballot application if you vote in person at the clerk's office. To obtain your municipal clerk's contact information, click on this web site.

Request an absentee ballot by mail:

Click here to download a blank request form for printing:

Make your request early to allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you.

Mail to your Town Clerk. Absentee ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address.

Request an absentee ballot by phone from your Town Clerk:

Click here to find your Town Clerk's phone number.

Request an absentee ballot in person at your Town Office:

Absentee ballots are available to voters from at least thirty (30) days prior to Election Day, through Election Day. Once available, you may obtain an absentee ballot in person from your Town Clerk.

Click here to find your Town Clerk's address.

Request an absentee ballot online:

Click here for an online request form.

A Guide to Absentee Voting in Maine

Click here for the State of Maine Absentee Voter Guide.

Early Voting

Early voting is available in Maine through in-person absentee voting. Eligible voters may submit an absentee ballot in person in the office of an election official as described above under Absentee Voting. Ballots submitted in this way are cast in the same way as other absentee ballots, on Election Day or the day before.

True early voting is defined by the Maine Secretary of State to mean a time period before an election during which voters have the opportunity to cast a ballot at a designated voting place within their municipality in the same manner as on Election Day. This is technically a different process than the in-person absentee voting, with ballots being cast by the voter during the early voting period. The Maine Constitution and Maine law currently prohibit true early voting.

Read more about Early Voting at the Secretary of State's web site.

Avoiding Problems at the Polls

Your Ballot, Your Vote. Don't panic if you registered to vote but your name is not on the list. Get help from a poll worker to make sure your vote is counted. Remember, Maine has same day registration. You can still register on Election Day. You may be directed to another polling place. Or you may be given a challenged ballot.

Challenged ballots are a safeguard for voters whose eligibility is in question on Election Day, including those whose voter registration is in doubt, who may have been purged from the voter list by mistake, or who registered by mail and have I.D. problems. No one who is eligible to vote should be turned away. (The only eligibility requirements are U.S. Citizenship, age of at least 18 years, and residency in the municipality where the person registers to vote.)

I.D. - Don't Go Without It. You may need to show identification. To be safe, bring your driver's license, or a paycheck, utility bill or government document that includes your name and street address. First-time voters who registered by mail may be asked to present I.D. prior to voting on Election Day. If you don't have appropriate I.D., you may vote a challenged ballot.

Writing on the Wall. Look at the signs at the polling place for directions on how to mark your ballot, a list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated. Among other things, information regarding what constitutes a spoiled ballot and instructions for securing a new ballot should be provided. If you make a mistake on a ballot, you can ask for another.

When in Doubt - Ask. Poll workers are there to help you. They'll show you how to mark your ballot and give you a challenged ballot if you need one. If you're at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Poll workers are a wealth of information for voters. And you won't be alone - this year promises to bring out more first-time voters than ever before. You won't be the only one with questions.

In and Out. You probably won't have to wait too long. But even if the line is long, don't leave without voting. The outcome of this election will be important!

Avoid the Crowds. Many voters feel they don't have time to vote, and that's why they haven't participated in the past. If you can, go to the polls during the off hours: 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Or you can vote at home! Absentee voting is anonymous and convenient. You can get an absentee ballot by phone, by mail, or in person from your Town Clerk.

Still have a problem? Voters with questions and concerns can call the toll free election protection hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The Election Protection voter empowerment program is a coordinated nonpartisan effort to address obstructions of voting rights. Questions can also be directed to the State's Elections Division in Augusta at 624-7650.

Don't think you know enough about the issues? Go online. Internet resources are available at most public libraries, and there is a wealth of information online. Keep an eye on the League of Women Voter's website for more on the candidates and the issues. Voters can find information on ballot initiatives, links to other informative web sites, information on how to find their polling place, candidates in their new electoral districts and much more.

Political Parties & Party Enrollment

Voters do not need to be enrolled in a party to vote in a general election, on any statewide ballot question, or in a municipal election. Voters must be enrolled in a party to vote in that party's primary election or caucus.

Voters who have already registered but have not enrolled in a party may enroll in a party at the polls on Election Day. Any voter who wishes to change party enrollment must do so at least 15 days before the vote.

A voter may change party enrollment at anytime after 3 months from the date on which the voter last enrolled.

Political Party Websites

Information about upcoming elections may also be available at party websites:

Libertarian Party of Maine
Maine Constitution Party
Maine Democratic Party
Maine Green Independent Party
Maine Republican Party

Caucuses in Maine

Maine does not use primary elections to nominate party candidates to run for the office of President of the United States. Instead, during a presidential election year, delegates to a party's state convention are chosen based on the results of a municipal caucus and are pledged to support a specific presidential candidate at the state convention.

You must be a registered voter and enrolled in a party to participate in that party's presidential caucus.

In general, the candidate with the most support in the caucus will have the most committed delegates to state convention. Party rules govern the method of determining which candidates are favored by caucus participants, and the rules for allocating delegates among candidates to be the party's nominee are also determined by the party.

To learn the dates and locations of municipal caucuses in your area, visit your party's web site:

History of Presidential Primaries and Caucuses in Maine

Prior to 1995, Maine had a law allowing qualified political parties the option to hold a Presidential Primary Election after January 1st of the presidential election year. However, the decision process was complex and parties traditionally indicated their preference for presidential candidates at the biennial municipal caucuses. In 1995, the Maine Legislature replaced the Presidential Primary law with a new Presidential Preference Primary law, simplifying the process considerably. In both 1996 and 2000, the major qualified political parties (Democratic and Republican) opted to hold Presidential Preference Primaries. In 2003, the Maine Legislature repealed the Presidential Preference Primary law. Therefore, in 2004 and subsequent election years, the parties will revert to the biennial municipal caucuses to indicate their support for presidential candidates.

Municipal Caucuses

The major political parties hold biennial municipal caucuses. In order to be designated a "qualified party," the party must hold biennial municipal caucuses before March 20 in at least one municipality in 14 of the 16 counties in the State during general election years. At this time, the three qualified parties are the Maine Democratic Party, the Maine Green Independent Party, and the Maine Republican Party. Among the most important purposes of the caucus are the following:

o Electing delegates to the party's state convention
o Electing municipal party officers.

The procedures for conducting the municipal caucus are largely determined by the caucus itself and by party rules. The political party also determines the number of state convention delegates to which a municipality is entitled.

Notice of the municipal caucus is to be published as follows:

o Published in a local newspaper between 3 and 7 days before the caucus
OR
o Posted in a public place in each voting district of the municipality seven days before the caucus.

The chairman or a majority of the members of a municipal committee of the party may call municipal caucuses. If there is no municipal committee in your town, any resident voter enrolled in a party may call a caucus for the purpose of electing the municipal committee and for conducting other business following party rules.

If you have a question about your party's caucus in your municipality, contact state party officials.

State and National Conventions

Each qualified party must hold a state convention between March 1 and August 1 during general election years, that is, every two years in the even-numbered years. Among the most important purposes of the state convention are the following:

o Adopting a platform for the next general election
o Electing state and county officers
o Electing delegates to the national party conventions
o Nominating presidential electors.

Delegates to the national nominating convention are typically chosen based on the results of the caucuses in the state and are pledged to support a specific candidate. Although the party nominee is widely known long before the national convention actually takes place, this is the official mechanism by which a party's presidential and vice presidential candidates are chosen.

Electoral College

In a presidential election year, a vote for the candidate for President is a vote for the presidential electors nominated by the candidate's political party. In Maine, each party's state convention nominates four electors, one from each congressional district and two at large.

After the presidential election, the presidential electors convene to cast their ballots for President and Vice President. In Maine, the electors at large cast their ballots for the candidates who received the largest number of votes in the State overall; and the electors of each congressional district cast their ballots for the candidates who received the largest number of votes in their respective congressional district. (Maine is one of only two states that splits it electors by congressional district. Nebraska is the other.)

The Electoral College consists of a total of 538 electors nationwide (equal to the combined number of U.S. senators and representatives from each state, plus three for the District of Columbia). Candidates for President and Vice President must receive an absolute majority (270) of electoral votes to be elected.

Read more about the Electoral College:

Click here for a State of Maine link on how Maine's Electors were chosen in 2016.

Click here for the LWVUS link on how the Electoral College works in modern times, including pro and con arguments.

Click here for the National Archives home page on the Electoral College.

Information About Prior Elections

The results of prior elections can be found at this website from the Secretary of State.

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2017

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2016

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2015

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2015 Portland Mayoral Election

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2014

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2013

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2012

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2011

Portland Guide 2011

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2010

Easy-to-Read Voter Guide 2009

Primary Elections in Maine June 12, 2018

Election results from the June 12 primary are posted online here.

Primary elections are held in Maine on the second Tuesday of June in even-numbered years. Primary elections determine each party's nomination of candidates for federal, state, and county offices. Party candidates who are nominated in the primary election appear on the general election ballot the following November. For the first time this year, Maine will be using ranked choice voting to cast ballots in the primary elections. Read more here. In addition, the Maine Secretary of State has posted a resource page on RCV, including the ballot layout for the June RCV contests.

In June 2018, we voted on one statewide ballot question: the people's veto to restore ranked choice voting for some future elections. You can learn more about that ballot question and read the proposed statute here.

Primary elections in Maine are "closed primaries." That is, you must be enrolled in a party to vote in the primary on nominations for candidates to represent that party in the general election. You do not need to be enrolled in a party to vote on a statewide ballot question.

Maine currently has four qualified parties:

The following offices were on the ballot in the 2018 primary election:

  • U.S. Senator
  • Representative to Congress (both districts)
  • Governor
  • State Senate districts
  • State Representative districts
  • County offices, depending on the county: Judge of Probate, Register of Probate, County Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Sheriff, District Attorney and County Commissioner.

A list of candidates and addition information is available from the Secretary of State.