Maine’s four Electoral College electors will cast their ballots for president during an unusual proceeding Monday that will be closed to the general public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The electors will convene in the State House chambers of the House of Representatives in Augusta at 2 p.m., and the event will be livestreamed for public viewing, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said.

The electors from Maine and the rest of the U.S. will be finalizing the election of Democrat Joe Biden, who won both the popular vote and 306 electoral votes, well beyond the threshold number of 270, in his victory over Republican President Trump.

Maine’s electors will cast three ballots for Biden and one for Trump, based on the vote in the state’s two congressional districts and statewide. Maine is one of only two states, Nebraska being the other, that splits its electoral votes by congressional district. Biden won Maine’s 1st Congressional District and prevailed over Trump statewide by 74,335 votes.

Maine law requires electors to cast their ballots based on the popular vote, prohibiting “faithless electors,” but the law doesn’t stipulate a penalty for those who may try to stray. In 2016, Democratic elector David Bright of Dixmont, was ruled out of order when he attempted to cast his vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote statewide and the 1st Congressional District. In a second vote, Bright cast his ballot for Clinton.

Trump continues to deny the national election results and make false claims of election tampering and voter fraud. His campaign has filed numerous lawsuits in several states alleging fraud, but all have been unsuccessful. Trump has been pressuring legislators in some states to intervene in the Electoral College process.

The voting in Maine will be witnessed by just 50 participants because of COVID-19 pandemic gathering limits.

“We are in the process of finalizing all the details and will make it work even though it can’t be like any other year,” said Kristen Muszynski, spokewoman for Dunlap.

Among Maine’s electors this year will be Jay Philbrick of North Yarmouth, who at 18 is among the youngest electors in the U.S. Philbrick, a freshman at Brown University, was elected to the post during the Maine Democratic Party’s virtual convention this spring.

“I think this is a really important opportunity and maybe something that I wouldn’t have done if the pandemic didn’t happen,” Philbrick said. He said he plans to use the attention he’s gotten for being one of the youngest electors in the nation this year, and one of the youngest ever in Maine, to raise awareness about how the process works, even as Trump works to undermine confidence in U.S. elections.

“I’m really honored to help educate people about the process through an interesting story and by spreading factual information about our elections,” Philbrick said. “If I can do that there will be some good in it.” He said he hopes his experience will also help inspire other young people to become involved in the political process.

Philbrick will be casting one of the three ballots for Biden. Joining him will be Bright and former state Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester. Bellows was elected by the Legislature to be Maine’s next Secretary of State starting in January.

Maine’s presidential elector for Trump is Peter LaVerdiere of Oxford.


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