Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands on stage after Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., spoke during the third day of the Democratic National Convention, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. Credit: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Good morning from Augusta. Are you a postal worker or Mainer affected by mail delays? We’d love to hear from you.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s really hard for me to understand why students in grades 10 through 12 are offered so little,” said Joe Conroy, a parent of a high school student in Portland, where the school board decided Wednesday to open under a hybrid model. “Kids are already behind after we learned in the spring that remote learning is a wholly inadequate approach.”

What we’re watching today

The Democratic National Convention wraps up tonight, setting up a competitive general election contest in places including Maine’s 2nd District. Former Vice President Joe Biden was formally nominated by his party on Tuesday — meaning we no longer have to refer to him as the “presumptive” nominee — and will accept the nomination tonight.

Polls of Maine so far have shown Biden with a healthy lead statewide, but running roughly even with President Donald Trump in the 2nd District. The Republican president won the district’s single electoral vote in 2016, the first time the two districts split in a presidential election.

Trump has shown interest in expanding on his victory in Maine. While visiting a factory in Guilford in June, he said he planned to win the whole state this year. During that visit, the president signed an order reopening 5,000 square miles of ocean around a national monument in the Gulf of Maine to fishing, though those waters are seldom fished by Maine fishermen. He has been touting that often, including far from the Atlantic in Minnesota on Monday.

Later that month, Trump signed another order allowing Maine lobstermen to access aid through an agriculture program aimed at offsetting the effects of tariffs. The lobster industry has been hit hard by the president’s trade war with China, which was a major importer of Maine lobster.

But the aid has yet to come through. Yesterday, Maine’s congressional delegation wrote to the Department of Agriculture asking the agency to act immediately. Monday is its formal deadline to respond to the president’s memo and the response could be a major 2020 issue.

The Maine politics top 3

— “Trump’s sole Maine judicial appointee has ruled against GOP more often than not,” Judy Harrison, BDN: “Analysts and court watchers agree that Trump’s appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts have tipped the federal court system to the right. But the impact on the U.S. District Court, where [Lance] Walker sits, is harder to measure, according to Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey School of Law in Philadelphia.”

— “How virus-related spending cuts would be ‘painful’ for some Maine agencies but not others,” Caitlin Andrews, BDN: “Most agencies kept their plans under wraps as they were reviewed by Mills’ budget department, which did not allow departments to eliminate entire programs. They may be made public next week. But smaller agencies whose plans were previewed or provided to the Bangor Daily News showed major and mundane ways that different agencies would be affected.”

— “Ad Watch: A Susan Collins bill doesn’t fully explain Postal Service’s problems,” Michael Shepherd, BDN: “The pre-funding issue was bad for the Postal Service, but the agency’s problems also stem from wider fundamental changes in how Americans use the mail and a large governmental failure to account for them with more aid or cuts. [Sen. Susan] Collins championed the 2006 law, but powerful Democrats were there with her at the time and there is more to her record.”

Maine GOP: Trump ‘knows and trusts’ absentee voting

Republicans are urging their voters to request absentee ballots as the president rails against mail-in voting. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the Maine Republican Party linked to its absentee ballot request page, saying, “President Trump knows and trusts traditional absentee ballot voting methods – YOU CAN TOO!” It comes on the heels of Trump railing against mail-in voting across the country, which has played into the Postal Service controversy.

There are differences between absentee and mail-in voting, but they are minor to Maine voters. Five states conduct elections almost entirely by mail, meaning every voter automatically gets a ballot. Maine is among 29 states that allow no-excuse absentee voting, which means voters must request a ballot that can be mailed in or returned to clerks in person.

Trump is criticizing the former method and not the latter, but Republicans seem to be seeing absentees as a liability. Political parties like absentee voting because they can check off voters in their database and better target get-out-the-vote efforts. Republicans have also done better in recent elections here when their absentee ballot gap with Democrats is smaller. In this pandemic-altered election, this could make a major difference. Here’s your soundtrack.

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.

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Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...