AUGUSTA — Maine’s secretary of state is getting behind a push to allow voters to request absentee voter status for all elections.

Democratic House Speaker Ryan Fecteau made the proposal, which would in turn allow voters to automatically receive absentee ballots for all elections unless they terminate their absentee status. Current Maine law requires voters to request absentee ballots for every election in which they plan to use them.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said the proposal would increase voter participation in Maine. She called the change “a simple step we can take toward our goal of making voting more accessible for all Maine citizens, and increasing voter participation.”

Mainers cast more than a half million absentee votes in the November election. That was nearly two-thirds of the total votes cast.

Bellows said technology upgrades would be needed for the state to maintain a single absentee list. She said that could be in place by 2023, which is the implementation deadline of Fecteau’s bill.

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