An effort to set up an early voting system in Maine died in the Maine House on Wednesday afternoon. The measure failed to garner the two-thirds support it needed in the House to send a question to voters asking them to amend the state constitution to allow towns and cities to set up early voting. The Senate approved the measure last month, meeting the two-thirds threshold needed to send a constitutional amendment resolution to voters. Maine residents who wish to vote early now do so by completing absentee ballots, which are sealed in envelopes that the voter signs. Those envelopes are held at a municipal clerk’s office until Election Day, when poll workers place them in ballot boxes or voting machines.
The amendment would have authorized a system through which residents who vote early could place their ballots directly into a ballot box or voting machine rather than seal them in signed envelopes and submit them to a municipal clerk.
The bill, LD 156, started out as a proposal that would require the Legislature to set up a statewide early voting system if voters supported the constitutional amendment. The amended version would allow towns and cities that choose to do so to set up early voting.