I have recently received many questions from voters as to whether it will be safe to vote on Election Day. The answer is yes.

Everyone who is working at the polls is wearing a mask and social distancing is being followed. In August, Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order to ensure that polling places are not overcrowded and voting booths are placed 6 feet apart. The booths are cleaned between voters. Lines outside will be well marked, and poll workers will help make sure you have an orderly and safe voting experience.

Perhaps you are more concerned about your fellow citizens disrupting your ability to vote. Don’t be. The Secretary of State’s Office has trained election wardens all across our great state on how to handle any disruptions. The circumference of 250 feet around the polling location is the Kingdom of the Warden. Under Maine law, an election warden can legally have a person creating a disturbance or violating any election law removed and even confined until the polls are closed. At the election warden’s request, a police officer can arrest and remove anyone, confining them if necessary. If you have any concerns when you arrive at the polls, talk to the warden.

Election law protects voters from any persons or acts that might intimidate or harass you when you are trying to vote. Any attempt to intimidate voters at polling places by questioning you, challenging you, photographing you or videotaping you should be immediately reported to the local election warden at the polling location and to law enforcement by calling 911. The law protects the rights of all Maine citizens to vote.

And yes, Maine has same-day voter registration, so you can register to vote on Election Day and then vote on that very same Election Day.

At any time you can have all of your questions or concerns about voting answered via the internet, the telephone, or via text. On the internet, you can go to iwillvote.com. If you want to call someone, call the Voter Assistance Hotline at 833-336-8683. Or if you prefer to use texts to answer your questions, just text the word “ACCESS” to 43367.

Are you concerned about the safety of your mailed-in absentee ballot? If you have already voted absentee, but you are wondering if your ballot has been received, this year there is a great new voter tracking service at the Secretary of State’s website that can be accessed at maine.gov/sos/cec/elec. If you have your ballot number, you can see the hour and even the minute it was received by your town clerk.

The governor’s executive order also lets the clerks start putting the absentee ballots into the voting machines early so that your ballot will be counted on Election Day.

Many Maine people are volunteering their time to ensure that your experience voting is safe and easy. We have high school seniors here in central Maine stepping up to help older election workers long past retirement age.

Election Day is a day where we come together to cast our ballot for the direction we want our state and our country to go. If you have any questions or concerns, I will be available all day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 513-7248. We will make sure Maine leads our country in the peaceful practice of our proud civic right to vote.

Voting in Maine is safe and easy. Please vote — your voice matters!

Maeghan Maloney is district attorney of Kennebec and Somerset counties.


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