Maine Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Maine?

In Maine, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent, or a candidate unless this person is your family member)
  • Election Staff trained to understand the rights above

In Maine, you also have the right to:  

  • Independently mark and cast your ballot without interference, coercion, or intimidation. 
  • Vote in privacy and cast a secret ballot.
  • Receive assistance when voting.
  • Review a sample ballot before voting. 
  • Vote by absentee ballot if you have a disability that prevents you from voting in person on Election Day.
  • File a complaint about voting accessibility or other violation.
Who can register to vote?

You can vote in U.S. federal, state, and local elections if you are a US citizen, 18 years old on or before Election Day. You must also meet your state’s residency and registration requirements.

To register in Maine, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 16 
    • You can vote at 17 in Primary Elections if you will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • An established resident of Maine (you have a “fixed and principal home”)
  • If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, convicted of a felony (even while incarcerated), or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote.
    • Homeless/Displaced persons: If you are homeless or living in a shelter, you are entitled to register to vote in the Maine municipality where you currently reside, even if you have a non-traditional address such as a park bench or other physical location. You may submit a physical description of your place of residence, under oath, to your municipal clerk in lieu of other residency documentation. Voters who are homeless are not required to present a mailing address in order to register to vote.

In Maine, you may not register or vote if:

  • Have been declared mentally incompetent, unless your right has been restored 
  • You claim the right to vote elsewhere
What are my rights when registering to vote?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official
  • All aspects of voter registration must be accessible
What are the different ways to vote in Maine?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee (including an accessible electronic ballot if you have a disability)
  • In-person absentee voting
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Maine?

Absentee ballot applications are available starting 3 months before the election.

  • Contact the municipal clerk in the town or city where you are registered to vote. 
  • You can make a telephone request for your own ballot, which will be mailed to the address you provide to the clerk.
  • You can make a written request by completing an absentee ballot application. U.S. Vote Foundation has an online tool that can help with registering or requesting absentee ballots.  You can obtain a ballot for an immediate family member in this same way. 
  • You can also request your ballot electronically.

A ballot will be mailed to the voter directly or to an immediate family member making the request. Your municipal clerk can tell you who is considered an immediate family member under the law.

Ballots obtained by the voter or an immediate family member do not require witnesses, unless the voter receives assistance from another person in reading or marking the ballot.

How is the Maine mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

An accessible PDF electronic ballot option is available for any Maine voter who has a print disability and would like to vote independently from home.

How to request your accessible electronic absentee ballot:
  1. Go to the online absentee ballot request page and choose the “Accessible Ballot” button.
    • The application requires that you self-certify that you have a disability that prevents you from completing a paper ballot independently. 
    • You will receive a message on the screen confirming your application has been submitted, followed by a confirmation by email.
  2. The Elections Division will process your application and email you at the email address you provided. 
    • The email will include a retrieval notice to access your ballot. 
    • This notice will include a link to the ballot download website and a secure username and password.
  3. You will log into the ballot website with your username and password, where you will download your ballot as a universally accessible PDF file and save it to your computer. 
    • This download will include all ballots for your voting district, including municipal ballots if they have been provided to the state. 
    • You can then use any standard screenreader software to assist you in reading and marking the ballot with your choices.
  4. When you are finished marking the ballot, you will go to the final page and enter your password into the signature box and click the “lock and sign” button to the right. The password will then show as your name.
  5. When you close the completed ballot PDF, you will need to re-save it to your computer as a completed ballot. 
  6. Send the completed ballot as an email attachment to uocava.cec@maine.gov, with the subject line of “Accessible Ballot”.  Or, you can reply to the ballot retrieval instructions email and attach your voted ballot PDF.
  7. Elections Division staff will reply, to let you know your ballot was received, when your ballot is processed.

Maine offers a Practice Accessible (Electronic) Absentee Ballot:
Password: 123456789

Screenreader Instructions to mark the ballot:

For more information or assistance, please contact your local election official.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Maine?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs. 

If you are unable to stand in line, you can:

  • Request to be moved to the front of the line or refuse to be moved to the front of the line
  • Request that a chair be provided or refuse to accept a chair
  • Request to have your place in line held and notified when it is your turn

An accessible ballot marking device is available at all polling places. This can be used to make choices audibly or by a touchscreen display. It allows for alternatives, such as:

  • Audio 
  • Tactile keys
  • Customizable displays
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Maine?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:  
    • your employer, an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
    • a candidate on the ballot
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Maine prior to Election Day?

Maine uses the ExpressVote voting system. You can watch a video demonstrating it here.  

Maine offers a Practice Accessible (Electronic) Absentee Ballot:
Password: 123456789

Screenreader Instructions to mark the ballot:

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Maine?

You can contact your local election official.

You can call The Elections Division - 1-888-868-3763, or The Disability Rights Center - 1-800-452-1948 V/TTY.

You can contact the Office of the Secretary of State:
111 Sewall Street (101 State House Station), Augusta, ME  04333
cec.elections@maine.gov
www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec

You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
  • By mailing your form to: 

                 U.S. Department of Justice
                 Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                 ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                 Washington, DC 20530

For assistance with advocacy, protection of your voting rights, and other services, you may contact the office of Disability Rights Maine.

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.