By Scott Thistle, Portland Press Herald
AUGUSTA— A new online tracking system will allow Maine voters to check the status of their absentee ballots.
“This tracker will give voters peace of mind knowing that their ballot is on its way, and later, that their ballot has been safely received and accepted by the municipal clerk,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a statement Monday.
Maine voters already have requested more than 230,000 absentee ballots for the November election but many have questions about whether they can count on the U.S. Postal Service when it comes to getting and sending back their ballots in the mail.
Maine is one of 44 states and the District of Columbia that allow voters to track their absentee ballots online.
Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for Dunlap, said the tracking system is part of the state’s response to a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Maine, and part of an ongoing effort to improve Maine’s system for 2020.
The new tracking system will allow a voter to enter their voter registration information and see if their request for a ballot has been received. The system will also show when a ballot has been sent out to a voter, how it was sent and when. Once the ballot is returned, the voter will be able to see when the ballot was received by their local election officials, usually a town or city clerk.
To track their ballot, the voter must enter their name, date of birth, and city of residence in an online form with Dunlap’s office.
Once they do that, they will see a grid that will show whether their request was accepted or rejected by the municipal clerk, as well as the date it was delivered to the voter, and the date when the completed ballot was returned to the clerk.
The ballot tracker was created by the state of Maine e-government service provider, InforME, in coordination with the Secretary of State’s Office. The system uses data directly from the office’s central voter registration database, which is continually updated by all municipal clerks statewide.
If you have requested an absentee ballot already you may check its status here.
Maine voters can request absentee ballots online at the Secretary of State’s website, or by calling, writing or visiting their municipal office. The deadline to request a ballot online or by phone is Thursday, Oct. 29. Voters may pick up absentee ballots in person until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.
All completed ballots must be returned to election officials no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. Officials are urging voters to allow at least seven days if they intend to mail their ballots back to local officials for counting.