October 11, 2011

Absentee ballot process changing this year

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Anyone planning to vote by absentee ballot for the Nov. 8 election -- whether in Waterville or anywhere else in the state -- will not be able to do it three days before the election.

VOTING ABSENTEE

Waterville residents wanting to vote by absentee ballot may do so in one of three ways: by requesting a ballot from the City Clerk’s office at 680-4210; by going online to the Secretary of State’s Office, Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, at www.maine.gov, and clicking on voter information and then absentee voting; or by going to the clerk’s office on the first floor of City Hall and voting in person.
The office is open for absentee voting from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Waterville residents vote 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at the American Legion Hall at 21 College Ave.

A new state law that went into effect Sept. 28 only allows voters to vote in the three days before the election if there is a special circumstance, according to City Clerk Arlene Strahan.

Strahan said in a special circumstances, voters would have to sign an affidavit -- a sworn statement -- that they could not vote at the polls because of an unexpected absence from the municipality during the entire time the polls were open on election day, or a physical disability or an incapacity or illness that wouldn't allow the voter to leave home or a treatment facility to vote.

Strahan said she is trying to get the word out to voters because many are not aware of the changes.

"We have a lot of people that choose to vote absentee, and I just don't want somebody to be caught blind-sided," she said.

Strahan said the change is beneficial to municipal clerks.

"It gives clerks the opportunity to prepare their list so it's accurate prior to election day," she said. "We have to mark our incoming voter list and we have to verify that we have all the absentee ballots we say we have. It will make it less stressful because we'll have Monday to be able to prepare for Election Day on Tuesday."

Residents wanting to vote by absentee ballot may do so by contacting their local municipal office or going to www.maine.gov and following the links to voter information and requesting an absentee ballot.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

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