News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Absentee Ballot Voting Encouraged in Maine

In any state in the US, registered voters whose disability prevents them from getting to their polling place can vote by mail (or in some cases, online) by absentee ballot. Other allowable reasons for voting absentee in most states include being away (on vacation, in the hospital, on a business trip) or being unable to vote due to work or religious commitments.

However, in Maine, anyone can vote absentee with a paper ballot, as long as they're registered by October 16 (this Tuesday) and request absentee ballots from their town clerks by November 1. (Note: This is a form that is printed out, which might not be ideal for some blind voters; voting by phone was voted in in 2006 but I cannot find information about whether that's still available. If you know, please comment!)

To vote absentee: Here is a listing of town clerks and their contact informationYou can also get your absentee ballot online: here!

Disability rights advocates in Maine have long been working on making sure that people with disabilities have access to the polls, particularly that people with disabilities such as blindness or low vision, intellectual disability, or any other disability aren't prevented from voting in their community, with privacy and with the assurance that their vote will be counted.

However, for those of us whose disabilities keep us at home or who have disabilities that are not yet accommodated at public polling places (such as multiple chemical sensitivity) or who have unpredictable symptoms, absentee voting is a terrific way to make sure you're able to vote.

According to the Associated Press, both major political parties in Maine are encouraging anyone and everyone to vote absentee because there are no restrictions for who can vote absentee or why one chooses to vote absentee.

If you go to the polls in person, you can register to vote at the polls on the same day as you vote. It's all about options! Here's more info on Maine voter registration.

Want more information on voting by absentee ballot in Maine? Here's the official Maine Absentee Voting Guide!

P.S. Live outside of Maine and wanting voting information? Visit the Voting with a Disability page of resources by state, or the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Disability Vote Project.

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