Voting by Mail: Still the Best Way to Vote
We in Maine are particularly attached to our postal service. It performs many vital services for rural citizens and city dwellers alike, not least of which is helping us vote safely in a pandemic. While the photos of dead chicks arriving at Maine farms are heartbreaking, and despite Trump’s efforts to undermine our faith in it, the USPS has plenty of capacity to handle absentee ballots.
This is true even if (as the head of the Maine Association of Letter Carriers assured us), “everyone in the country votes absentee”; the Post Office handles a much larger influx of mail every year over the winter holidays.Swing Left Maine, with help from our local partners, has spoken with experts and compiled a comprensive list of things you can do to preserve our postal service, help our town clerks with the avalanche of voter registrations and absentee ballots, and pressure government officials to act NOW to ensure safe voting–starting with getting your own ballot today.
Getting Your Ballot
Request your absentee ballot NOW. It will be mailed by early October. Having your ballot in hand greatly expands your voting options. You may:
a. return it by mail (as soon as you get it, to be super safe);
b. drop it in your Town Hall drop box (no later than 8 pm Nov. 3);
c. hand it to your Town Clerk in person (by closing hours Nov. 3);
d. OR vote in person at your polling station on Nov. 3 instead. (Yes, you may still do this if you choose to; or if your ballot hasn’t arrived.)
Saving the Post Office
- Postal Service actions (compiled by Suit Up Maine) are here. We can’t recommend this site enough! Where to protest, whom to call & write, updates on Congressional actions and hearings–everything.
- Speak Up: Write Letters to the Editor Make your voice heard–on this crucial isssue and any related to the election. Learn how we are magnifying our efforts to be heard in public forums. For experienced as well as new letter writers, join the Swing Left Maine webinar: here.
Voting FAQ’s and Links
- Voting FAQ’s (compiled by Suit Up Maine) are here.
- Find your polling place here.
- Voter Protection Hotline (if having trouble voting or registering): (207) 990-078
Registering FAQ’s and Links
- Detailed answers on registering to vote and voting are here.
- Find what kinds of documentation you need to register here.
- Download (and print) your voter registration form here.
- Don’t have a printer? Register2vote.org will print your registration form for you and mail it to you.
Absentee Ballot Links
Last day to request absentee ballot is Oct. 29.
- Request Absentee Ballots online here.
- Request Absentee ballot from your Town Clerk. Contact info and hours for every town clerk in Maine are here.
Help Your Town Clerks
- Urge the Governor to use state funds to build Ballot Drop Boxes in every town (see below for how to do that).
- Contact your town clerk to find out how to help them deal with incorrectly filled out absentee ballot applications or unsigned envelopes.
- Volunteer at Polls here; or contact the League of Women Voters: email@example.com.
- Help with ADVANCED voter registration outreach and marketing especially on National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 22 (see Call to Action below). Town Clerks are dedicating the month of September to this effort in order to avoid a flood of people trying to register on Election Day.
- Educate yourself and others on how to fill out absentee ballots so they won’t be rejected. The top three reasons recent mail-in ballots were rejected nationwide are:not arriving on time (48%), not being signed (17 percent), and signatures that could not be verified (23 percent).
Pressure Maine Officials for Safe Voting & USPS Funding
Call Gov. Mills. She is about to issue an executive order about voting, and NOW is the time to pressure her. The League of Women Voters of Maine has organized around this and will present a list of demands for this Executive Order today. Check their website for this list. Meanwhile, here are our suggestions:
- build ballot drop boxes in every town
- send absentee ballots to all voters who are already registered
- include pre-paid postage on those ballots
- make in-person polling places as safe as possible
Call Susan Collins. Tell her how postal delays have affected you personally, and tell her that you know about her role in manufacturing the USPS’s current financial crisis. Tell her to put her support behind the House’s USPS funding bill, since her own USPS funding plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if she can’t convince Mitch McConnell to bring it to the floor for a vote. [credit: Suit Up Maine]
Immediate Calls to action
1. Aug. 25 is “Save the Postal Service” Day of Action. Find a protest near you HERE.
2. Call Susan Collins about supporting the Post Office! Tell her you’re a Mainer and you vote. Augusta office: (207) 622-8414.
3. Put pressure on Gov. Mills NOW before her Exec. Order is issued. (207) 287-3531.
4. Organize a Register-to-VoteWeek of Action. Sept. 22 is Register to Vote Day. Devote this whole week to helping clerks prevent a last-minute stampede by getting the message out about registering in advance.
|As always, thanks for all your hard work in this critical election.Amy and Paula|
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