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Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 8, 2020
Absentee ballot confusion
Clerks say ‘Read the instructions’

by Leslie Landrigan

Island town clerks say they’ve been inundated with phone calls from people with questions about the November 3 election.

“This year has not been easy,” said Diane Hardie, Stonington town clerk, in an October 7 interview. “People are very confused.”

About half of all registered voters surveyed nationally by the Pew Research Center thought voting would be “very” or “somewhat” difficult this year in a poll conducted July 27 through August 2.

In Maine, at least 230,000 people had requested absentee ballots by September’s end. That’s about six times as many requests as in the 2016 election, according to the secretary of state.

Hardie said many call looking for their absentee ballot. Stonington sent them out Monday, October 5, and they should arrive soon, said Deputy Town Clerk Bridget Brophy.

Brophy said there’s confusion about ranked-choice voting and she urges people to read the ballot instructions. Brophy also said people don’t trust the postal service to deliver ballots.

In Deer Isle, Town Clerk Heather Cormier said most people are calling to request ballots. “That is a good thing,” she said in an email. Deer Isle has also posted on its website a link to the Maine secretary of state’s ballot tracker, where people can find out the status of their ballot:.