Maine voters continue to shatter state absentee voting records.

Data released Friday by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap shows 32.5 percent of the state’s 1.06 million registered voters have already returned their absentee ballots.

In all, town and city clerks across the state have issued 443,505 ballots and 345,379 ballots have been returned, either through the mail or in person at drop boxes or municipal offices.

Eligible registered voters can request an absentee ballot using the state’s online request service until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. Voters may also cast an in-person absentee ballot at their town or city clerk’s office until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. All absentee ballots must be returned to clerks before 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

State health and election officials have encouraged voters to use Maine’s no excuse absentee ballot law to avoid crowding into polling places to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Dunlap has estimated that as many as 500,000 to 600,000 Mainers will use an absentee ballot to vote this year.

Democrats remain far more likely than other voters to use the absentee ballot process. As of Friday, Democrats had requested 223,199 ballots, or just over 50 percent of the total requests, compared to 95,414 ballots for Republicans, 112,073 for unenrolled voters and 14,802 requests for Green Party members.

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