Your vote in this year’s elections will have important impacts on your local community! The candidates who are elected will soon have the power to make decisions about shelter services, the substance use epidemic, affordable housing, social safety net spending, mental healthcare availability, and other issues that have a direct impact on the lives of people Preble Street serves. If you live in Portland, Maine scroll to the bottom of this post for help understanding the shelter referendum on this year’s ballot.
Make your vote count! You can still request an absentee ballot or participate in early voting (at your city clerk’s office) until Thursday, October 28. Plan ahead and make sure you know your polling location and have a plan for getting there on Tuesday, November 2!
How to vote:
- In person on November 2 at your polling place
- Absentee ballot submitted via mail, dropped off at your local town office, or your town’s secure ballot drop box
- The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. on October 28. To make sure your vote is counted, it is imperative that you sign your envelope and mail your absentee ballot at least a week in advance.
- In-person absentee voting at your local town office
- You can vote “absentee in-person” at your local town office. Call your town office, or go to their website for more information.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, or unsure if you are registered you can check you voter registration status here.
If you need to register here are some important things to know:
- You must be 18 years old and a U.S. Citizen to vote. You can still vote if you have a felony conviction or parole status!
- You can register by completing a voter registration card (found online here)
- Mail or return it in-person to your local town office
- To register all you need is a completed voter registration card, a copy of your state ID (or other photo ID), and proof of residential address (EX: utility bill, bank statement, or other official mail).
- Deadline to register via mail is Thursday, October 28 but there is no deadline to register in person at your local town office or register at the polls on Election Day!
For more information on registering to vote, see the Voter Guide on the Maine Secretary of State website. Vote411.org/maine is also a great resource for seeing the candidates who will be on your ballot, and you can find information about the referendum questions there, as well as on the League of Women Voters website.
Portland, Maine voters:
This year there is a major initiative that will impact people experiencing homelessness in our city by defining the capacity of future shelters. We have listed the proposed options that will appear on the ballot, below. The City of Portland states that this referendum WILL NOT impact the construction of the Riverside shelter. Neither Preble Street nor Homeless Voices for Justice have taken an official stance on this initiative, but we encourage all voters to carefully consider the options.
- Option A: This proposed amendment requires all new emergency shelters to be opened 24 hours per day and, except for family and domestic violence shelters, provide shelter to no more than 50 individuals at a time. It adds a requirement for shelter management plans to include a Criminal Trespass Order policy and appeals process for residents. It also removes the requirements for shelters to: provide adequate space for security searches and other assessments; include plans for on-site surveillance and controls for resident behavior and noise levels; provide adequate access to and from METRO service; implement strategies to help guests utilize transit.
- Option B: This proposed amendment requires all new emergency shelters to be opened 24 hours per day and to have adequate indoor space to provide day shelter for all guests. It adds a requirement for shelter management plans to include a clear policy regarding Criminal Trespass Orders. It requires all emergency shelters to provide access to and from METRO service and to implement strategies to help guests use public transit. It requires individual emergency shelters to be located at least 1000 feet from one another, limits the size of individual shelters to a maximum of 150 beds except in situations when a shelter capacity emergency is declared, and limits the total number of individual shelter beds within a 1-mile radius to a maximum of 300. Domestic violence shelters which don’t disclose their locations for safety reasons are exempt from both provisions. The proposed consolidation of the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter and the Preble Street Teen Center into one facility at 343 Cumberland is also exempt from buffer and density provisions.
- Option C: Neither of the two (2) proposed Amendments to the Portland City Code above.