A sign before the voter registration table at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor is shown in this 2016 file photo. You can now automatically update your voter registration when updating your drivers license or other government ID at the BMV. Credit: Mickey Bedell / BDN

Maine’s automatic voter registration system is online and ready to go.

The system at Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices across the state will allow Mainers to update their voter registration or register to vote while updating their state-issued ID’s, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The automatic voter registration system will allow people over the age of 16 who have already provided proof of citizenship and Maine residency to verify their personal information and select whether they want to enroll in a party or remain independent or unregistered. Maine residents can opt out of the process when visiting the BMV.

The information provided will then be available to alert a community if a person has changed residence or party, and will help streamline the process of updating voter information that typically could take weeks to complete with standard paper registration cards.

Typically, paper registration cards are filled out, sent to the secretary of state’s office, and then returned to the appropriate town clerk. The electronic system will make voter registration information available across the state’s voter registration database almost immediately, according to the Portland newspaper.

The new system will also allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and their voter registration will automatically be recognized once they turn 18.

Mainers will still be able to register at their town halls or during voter registration drives with standard paper registration cards.

The state is also in the process of updating its central voter registration system to enable Mainers to register to vote online, a voter look up portal to enable voters to verify that their registration information is correct and a system to track absentee ballot requests and voter participation.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.