ANY registered voter in Poland can request an absentee ballot for the July 14, 2020 election.
Applications (requests) can be made three ways:
- In person at the Poland Town Office during normal business hours, 9-4 PM Monday-Friday
- Call in to our Poland Town Office during normal business hours, we must speak to each person wishing to request a ballot
- Online at http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl
Some people are concerned about the security and counting of these ballots. Speaking for the Town of Poland we can proudly say that we follow the steps outlined below for processing absentee ballots.
- Applications for a ballot must be made in one of the three ways listed above.
- Application information is entered into the Central Voter Registration System, if anything is different on the application versus what is in the system a ballot is not issued and the voter is notified why.
- The voter fills out the ballot and must sign the back of the Absentee Ballot envelope and return to the Town Clerk.
- Upon receiving the ballot the Town Clerk enters into the Central Voter Registration System that it was received.
- The received ballot envelope is stapled to the application and stored alphabetically in our locked vault, SEALED.
- The day before elections, which would be Monday, July 13, 2020, all absentee ballots are brought to a secured location with both a Democrat and Republic election clerk present along with the Election Warden.
- The Election Warden verifies that all applications that were processed in the Central Voter Registration system are accounted for by matching the total number of requests/returns to the printout from the software.
- One person validates that the application name and address match the signed envelope.
- The voters name is called off and the other election clerk checks the name off on the INCOMING VOTER LIST, this is the same exact list that will be used on Tuesday.
- The envelope is then opened and all ballots are placed in a box, so no one can see how someone voted.
- This warden then takes the ballots unfolds them from the box and enters them into the counting machine, the same machine used on Tuesday.
- This continues until all ballots are opened and counted by the machine.
- The memory card for the voting machine is then locked and sealed in the vault to be tallied after Tuesdays in person voting.
- All absentee envelopes and applications are kept until the Town can dispose of them per State Retention guidelines.
- Counted ballots are placed in a locked and sealed blue box that is placed in the vault, the same process we use for counted ballots on Tuesday.
The counting process for absentee voting is always open to the public to view if they wish. By using the same INCOMING VOTER LIST people can not vote absentee then vote in person as their name has already been checked off in the book. If we question whether or not the ballots were submitted by the voter themselve we will pull voter registration cards and verify that the signature on the back of the envelope matches the card before we open the envelope with the ballots. If there is no signature on the returned envelope that ballot is REJECTED and will not count, this is recognized and dealt with as soon as the Clerk receives them. We do notify the voter of this and they do have the ability to come in person to vote or if time allows to request a new absentee ballot.
Please be on the lookout for our third news article of this series outline the STATE BALLOT that you will be receiving at the election.