In preparation for administering the General Election on Tuesday, November 3, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has issued updated guidance to ensure that all voters can safely participate.

Those who choose to vote in-person absentee before Election Day must wear a face covering. Voters who have requested an absentee ballot by mail will not be issued a second ballot if they seek to vote in-person absentee ahead of Election Day, except in special circumstances. Voters who change their minds about voting with the ballot they have already received are advised to bring their blank ballot to their town office to vote in the presence of the clerk or complete their ballot from home and return it via mail or to the municipal clerk or dropbox directly.

Those planning to vote absentee by mail are urged to request a ballot as soon as possible, either directly from a municipal clerk or by visiting maine.gov/sos. Ballots should be returned as soon possible to allow clerks to take advantage of early processing time.

Ballots should be mailed at least seven days before Election Day. Ballots may also be delivered to a municipal clerk as soon as voters have completed them. Many towns and cities are offering the option to deposit ballots in an official ballot dropbox on city or town hall property. All ballots must be submitted to the municipal clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Polling places will be open on Election Day for in-person voting. Voters should allow additional time to complete the process, as wait times are expected to be longer than usual due to capacity limits, social distancing and sanitization measures. Some voters may have to wait outside, so all should prepare for the weather.

Voters are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when visiting the polls, but cannot be turned away on Election Day for not wearing a face covering. All election workers will be required to wear face coverings and use tabletop barriers at the check-in tables. Voting booths will be sanitized according to CDC guidelines and pens will be single-use. Candidates and petitioners will be allowed to set up outside and will be required to wear cloth face coverings and maintain a six-foot distance from voters.

Per Maine law, voters are advised to refrain from wearing face coverings or other clothing and accessories that display the name of a candidate on the ballot. Election workers, poll watchers, petitioners and others stationed at the polling place are not permitted to wear any apparel expressing support or opposition for any candidate or issue on the ballots.

Influencing or attempting to influence any voter’s decision about how to vote, or intimidating a voter, is prohibited by federal and state law, and any complaints about such activity should be directed to the election warden at the polling place.

Polling places may be consolidated or moved up to 10 days prior to Election Day; voters are advised to check with their municipality or visit the Maine Voter Information Lookup Service online.

For more information, including the complete guidelines, visit maine.gov/sos/cec/elec, email sos.office@maine.gov or phone 626-8400.