The State of Maine allows residents to register to vote anytime, including the day of the election. Residents of Gray may register to vote at the Town Clerk/Tax Office at Town Hall, or at the Newbegin Gym the day of the election. Proof of residency and proof of identity is required, e.g. drivers license indicating Gray address.
Voter registration hours for new registrations, enrollments, and any address or name changes will be Monday – Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm; and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, 24 Main Street, Gray.
Statutory Qualifications for Voting
A voter must meet the following qualifications to vote in a municipality:
- Must be a U.S. citizen;
- Must be at least 18 years of age;
- Must have established and must maintain a voting residence in that municipality;
- Must be registered to vote in that municipality; and
- Must be enrolled in a party to vote at a caucus, convention or primary election.
"Fail Safe" Qualification
A registered voter who moves to another state within 30 days before a presidential election must not be removed from the voting list. The voter may vote at that presidential election in person or by absentee ballot.
Restrictions on Voting
In a municipality with voting districts, a voter may vote using only the ballot or ballots for the district in which the voter resides on Election Day.
In a municipality with voting districts, a person whose name or street address does not appear correctly on the voting list on Election Day may not vote at any election until it is corrected.
Residence for Voting Purposes
Residence is that place where the person has established a fixed and principal home to which the person, whenever temporarily absent, intends to return.~ Under this definition, residence is something that a person establishes, not something a person chooses.~ While the definition includes the person’s "intent to return" to a residence, it makes it clear that the residence must in fact exist, and the person must have established it as a fixed and principal home.
The law does not define "fixed" or "principal" or "home". Instead, the law provides the following factors to guide the registrar in determining whether a person has established a residence in the municipality:
- A direct statement of intention by the person pursuant to section 121.1 (an "oath");
- The location of any dwelling currently occupied by the person;
- The place where any motor vehicle owned by the person is registered;
- The residence address, not a post office box, shown on a current income tax return;
- The residence address, not a post office box, where the person receives mail;
- The residence address, not a post office box, shown on any current resident hunting or fishing licenses held by the person.
- The residence address, not a post office box, shown on any motor vehicle operator’s license the person holds;
- The receipt of any public benefit conditioned upon residency, defined substantially as provided in this subsection; or
- Any other objective facts tending to indicate a person’s place of residence.
In most cases, a person only has 1 dwelling, making residency an easy factor for the registrar to determine.~ However, determining residency becomes more difficult when a person owns or rents a dwelling in more than 1 municipality. In this case, the registrar determines which dwelling the person has established as a "fixed and principal home" by considering all the evidence the voter provides.
Residency Under Certain Circumstances
- Change of Residence: A change of residence is made only by the act of removal, joined with the intent to remain in another place. A person can have only 1 residence at any given time.
- Residence Retained: A person does not lose a residence if the person temporarily leaves home and goes to another country, state, or place in this state with the intent of returning.
- Separate Residence: The place where a person's family resides is presumed to be the person's place of residence, but a person may acquire a separate residence if the person takes another abode with the intention of remaining there.~
- Spouse May Have a Separate Residence: A married person may be considered to have a residence separate from that of the person's spouse for the purposes of voting or holding office.
- Voting in Another State: A person loses residence in this state if the person votes in another state's election.
- Armed Forces Residence: A person does not gain or lose a residence solely because of the person's presence or absence while employed in the Armed Forces of the U.S. or of this state or while residing upon any military reservations.
- Retained Residence: A person who has gained a voting residence in a municipality retains it, if desired, when the person becomes an employee of a federal agency where the person is required to reside on land given to the Federal Government by the State. This applies to a member of the Armed Forces or the National Guard who is required to be in a place other than that in which the person has gained a voting residence.
- Spouse of Member of Armed Forces: A spouse of an Armed Forces member on active duty may have the same voting residence as that person's spouse.
NOTE: Military personnel declare a legal residence when they enter the military. This legal residence address may be helpful to the registrar in determining whether the voter meets the residency requirements to register in Maine.
- Persons Incarcerated in Correctional Facilities: A person incarcerated in a correctional facility or county jail may register to vote in any municipality where that person has previously established a fixed and principal home to which that person intends to return. An incarcerated person may not register to vote where they are incarcerated, unless the person lived there before incarceration.
- Students: A person does not gain or lose a residence solely because of the person's presence or absence while a student in any institution of learning.
This may not be construed to prevent a student at any institution of learning from qualifying as a voter in the municipality where the student resides while attending that institution.~ When registering students, the registrar must make the determination of residency as if they were not a student.~ The same definition of residency applies, and the same sub-factors listed in 112.1.A should be used when determining residency.
Students may be made aware:
- That they may only have 1 residence at any 1 time;
- That if they have declared residency in another municipality or State for any reason, and if their circumstances have not changed, the other jurisdiction may be the legal residence where they should be registered to vote.
- No one may register to vote in more than 1 place for any election.
- Homeless (or Voters with Nontraditional Residences):~ Homeless people are encouraged to register to vote. As these people are without a home, thus, without a traditional address, completing a voter registration card can be difficult. Registrars should use the following information to assist them in serving these individuals.
- A voter’s residence is generally an apartment or house. However, the law also allows that a voter's residence may be nontraditional, such as a shelter or park bench. In this case, the street or location address portion of the registration card should be completed with a physical description of the homeless voter’s residence location in the municipality.
- Although homeless voters may not have a traditional residence, they must still have a physical location within the municipality where they live. A person's residency is not subject to challenge on the sole basis that the person has a nontraditional residence.
- Additionally, the law does not require that a homeless voter have a mailing address in order to register to vote. The registrar should try to obtain a mailing address, such as a shelter or emergency housing, whenever possible. Maine law does require the mailing address section of the voter registration card to be completed. However, a homeless person who does not have a mailing address may properly and legally complete a voter registration card by writing "NONE" in the mailing address section of the application.