Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap credits partnerships, thanks municipal clerks for conducting a safe election

Augusta - Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is congratulating municipal clerks and election workers across the State for safely conducting the most challenging General Election of our time on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 –  in the midst of a global pandemic, with record-breaking voter turnout of 75% of Maine’s voting age population.

Secretary Dunlap is pleased to announce that the Maine Centers for Disease Control has no record of any COVID-19 outbreak investigations associated with polling places on Election Day.

“Voting in-person in Maine was a safe option even during this pandemic, which is a testament to our partnerships and the impressive dedication of our municipal clerks in implementing the disease prevention measures for voters and election workers,” said Secretary Dunlap.

The Department of the Secretary of State’s Elections Division worked closely with the Maine CDC and Gov. Mills’ office to develop guidelines and provide protective equipment to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on Election Day. Safety measures included limiting the number of voters inside a polling place, sanitizing voting booths, installing table-top sneeze guards at the ballot tables and requiring face coverings for poll workers.

“The Elections Division staff worked tirelessly to add these safety measures for the July 14, 2020 Primary Election and build upon them for the General Election,” said Secretary Dunlap. “Most voters do not realize the amount of work that goes into preparing for an election, and to have the pandemic considerations on top of all the regular election work was incredibly challenging.

“Our staff, in partnership with the Governor’s office and clerks across the State, rose to the challenge and ultimately kept our voters and poll workers safe while maintaining the integrity and accessibility of this important election.”

Secretary Dunlap also recognized Maine companies FlowFold and L.L. Bean, which donated face shields and face masks, respectively, to aid in the protection of all election staff and poll workers.

The official results of the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election are now posted on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State election results webpage.

Friday, October 30, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap to visit multiple polling places on Election Day

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s top election official, will be visiting polling places throughout the day on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, to observe the voting process and meet with local election officials.

“We’ve seen unprecedented levels of absentee voting this year, but we still expect a strong showing at the polling places from those who prefer to cast their ballot in-person,” said Secretary Dunlap, noting that Mainers will cast ballots not only for their preferred candidate for U.S. President, but also for one of Maine’s two United States Senators, two Representatives to Congress, members of the Maine Legislature, and certain county officers. 

Sec. Dunlap will be available to speak to the press at each stop and throughout the day. His schedule will be as follows (times are approximate):

  • 7:30 a.m.: Old Town, Elks Lodge, 37 Fourth Street
  • 9 a.m.: Waterville, Junior High School, 100 W. River Road
  • 11:15 a.m.: Portland, Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall, 20 Myrtle St.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Lewiston, Longley Elementary School, 145 Birch St.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Augusta, Civic Center, 76 Community Drive
  • 5:00 p.m.: Bangor, Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St.
  • 7:30 p.m.: Orono, New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym, 18 Gym Drive

Polls open in most municipalities between 6-10 a.m. and all close at 8 p.m. Secretary Dunlap is encouraging all eligible voters to cast their ballots, reminding them that Election Day voter registration is an option in Maine. Voters can find their polling place and sample ballots via the State of Maine Voter Information Lookup Service.

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s statement regarding ranked-choice voting ballot-marking guidance:

When ranked-choice voting was first put into use in the June 2018 primary, our office created a webpage of resource materials to help voters understand the new voting method. Since then, we have regularly updated this page in response to voter input and with information about the elections at hand.

One of the resources on our webpage is a series of “sample marked ballots,” which show voters all the ways they can choose to mark a ranked-choice ballot. The 11 examples include images of what not to do – such as voting for two candidates as your first choice – as well as every combination of acceptable ballot markings that will be counted as valid.

The example marked ballots on our RCV Resources webpage are not instructions, they are examples of ballot markings, to give voters a full understanding of the ranked-choice voting ballot.

The ballot instructions advise voters to “mark one oval” for each candidate they choose because that is all that is necessary to ensure that your vote will be counted for your candidate through all the rounds, unless/until that candidate is eliminated from the race as the lowest vote-getter.

The recent Maine Republican Party flyer mailed out to voters advises voters to fill out all the rankings for a single candidate, filling in all ovals across the ballot. This is not necessary to ensure that your vote for that candidate will be counted in all the rounds, but our example marked ballots show voters that it is still an acceptable way to mark the ballot and will not invalidate their vote.

The mailer has caused significant voter confusion by advising voters to “Vote for President Donald Trump across the ballot in each round,” and states that only this method of marking will make their ballot “complete.” This language is inaccurate and reflects a gross misunderstanding of the ranked-choice voting process.

Voting across the ballot for any candidate is voting for them in each RANKING. Your vote for your candidate as your first choice (filling out only the first-choice ranking oval) carries forward with them in any subsequent ROUNDS unless/until they are eliminated from the race.

The example marked ballot educational materials do not contradict the instructions on the ballot, and in fact have provided peace of mind to voters who are confused by the Maine GOP mailing.

Ultimately, voters need to know this: If you only want to vote for one candidate in a ranked-choice race, the ballot instructs that you mark only the first-choice oval for your candidate. You can also choose to mark the ovals all the way across in every ranking (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. choice) for your candidate. Both of these markings are valid and will result in your vote being counted for your candidate throughout all the rounds of the ranked-choice voting process, unless/until that candidate is eliminated from the race.

October 20, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap advises voters on pandemic measures for General Election

AUGUSTA – In preparation for administering the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Dunlap is issuing updated guidance to ensure that all voters can safely participate in casting their ballots.

As of Oct. 8, 2020, more than 300,000 Maine voters have requested to vote by absentee ballot in this election, which is more than Maine has ever seen before at this point in the election season.

“With the influx of absentee ballot requests this year, we are issuing some additional guidance and offering new services for voters to ensure a smooth election,” said Secretary Dunlap. “We have also received questions about pandemic prevention measures at the polling places on Election Day, both for election officials and voters, and we are advising the municipal clerks on all the best practices for keeping everyone safe.”

Voters can find detailed information about all the special provisions in place for voting during the pandemic by visiting the Upcoming Elections page:

How will COVID-19 prevention measures affect my in-person voting experience?

Guidance Documents for Elections During COVID-19

If you choose to vote in-person absentee by visiting your town office before Election Day, the State requirements for face coverings are in effect. If you do not have a face covering, the clerks may provide you with one, or provide you with an absentee ballot to vote at home.

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. The State does not print more than one ballot per voter, and an influx of double requests will result in ballot shortages. Voters who change their minds about voting with the absentee ballot they have already received are advised to either bring in their blank ballot to vote it in the presence of the clerk, or complete their ballot from home and return it via mail or to the municipal clerk/dropbox directly. Read the full guidance document here.

If you plan to vote absentee by mail, please request your ballot as soon as possible, either directly from your municipal clerk or using our Online Absentee Ballot Request service. Once you receive your ballot, please return it to your clerk as soon as you can to allow clerks to take advantage of early processing time to handle the unprecedented influx of absentee ballots this year.

If you are returning your ballot by mail, please allow at least 7 days for mailing time. Otherwise, you can drop off your ballot to your municipal clerk as soon as you have completed voting. Many towns and cities in Maine are also offering the option for voters to deposit their ballot in an official ballot dropbox on the city or town hall property. However you choose to return your ballot, remember: All ballots must be submitted to your municipal clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

You can track your absentee ballot with our new online tracking service, to see when your application is received, when your ballot is sent out and when it is received by your clerk after you return it. If there are any issues with your absentee ballot, such as if you forgot to sign your outer envelope, your clerk will contact you to correct the error so your ballot can be cast as intended.

For more information about absentee voting, visit the Absentee Voting in Maine page.


Polling places for the General Election will be open on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 for in-person voting. Voters should allow additional time to complete the voting process, as wait times are expected to be longer than usual due to capacity limits, social distancing and sanitization measures in place at your polling site. You may have to wait outside due to the restrictions; please be sure you are prepared for the weather.

Our office is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for election workers, courtesy of a donation from L.L. Bean and Flowfold, and we are requiring that all election workers 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 6’ distance from voters. 

All voters are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when visiting the polls to vote, but cannot be turned away from voting on Election Day for not wearing a face covering.

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

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. Read the full guidance document here.

Polling places may be consolidated or moved up to 10 days prior to Election Day, so voters are advised to check with the municipality or use the Voter Information Lookup Service for the latest updates prior to heading out to vote.

If you have any questions visit our webpage or contact us directly at 626-8400,; or via our social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

October 1, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap accepts generous election-focused PPE donation from Maine companies

AUGUSTA – Two Maine companies have donated more than $44,000 of personal protective equipment for election workers to stay safe while administering the Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 General Election.

L.L. Bean, the outdoor retailer based in Freeport, donated 8,000 face coverings for this election, while Flowfold, the Gorham-based manufacturer of wallets, bags and everyday gear, provided 8,000 face shields.

“We are incredibly grateful to have these two upstanding Maine companies recognize the importance of supporting our election workers with protective equipment this year,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. “We are very appreciative of this donation, which will help limit the spread of the pandemic while people exercise their right to vote.”

L.L. Bean and Flowfold delivered the donated materials to the Maine Department of the Secretary of State on Monday, Sept. 14, and the items are being delivered to all municipalities in advance of Election Day.

In April of 2020, L.L. Bean announced it was making face masks for healthcare workers across the state using the company’s dog bed liners – as the material was not only readily available for quick access, but it is also breathable, liquid resistant, durable, and washable.

“Similar to our mask making efforts for frontline workers earlier this year, we want to use our resources and talent to the best of our ability to help our communities across the state,” said Marie McCarthy, L.L. Bean Chief Operations and People Officer.

In March of 2020, Flowfold also found itself in a unique position to provide critical protective equipment and quickly retooled its manufacturing operations to produce protective face shields.

“We pivoted to making PPE to help members of our community, be it medical professionals, teachers, business owners, or individuals,” said Devin McNeill, CEO and co-founder of Flowfold. “With the challenges posed by COVID we're proud to join with L.L.Bean and the State of Maine to ensure poll volunteers have access to the PPE they need.”


Monday, September 28, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap launches absentee ballot tracking service

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is launching a new online service today that will allow voters to track the status of their absentee ballot.

The Absentee Ballot Request Status service is now live, located at the top of the online absentee ballot request page. Any voter who has requested an absentee ballot can now track the status of their request, and of the ballot itself, through the Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 General Election.

“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,” said Secretary Dunlap. 

Voters must enter their name, date of birth, and city of residence to check on the progress of their ballot. They will see a grid that will show whether their request was accepted or rejected by the clerk, as well as the date it was delivered to the voter, and the date when the completed ballot was returned to the clerk:

Absentee Ballot status image

The tracking service was developed by the State of Maine e-government service provider, InforME, in coordination with the Department of the Secretary of State. It populates data directly from the central voter registration database, which is continually updated by all municipal clerks statewide.

Voters can request an absentee ballot via the online service or directly with their municipal clerk through Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020; or in-person with the municipal clerk through 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. All ballots must be in hand with the municipal clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.