Maine voters are continuing to request absentee ballots for November’s general election at a record-breaking pace, an update from Maine’s secretary of state shows.

Data released Tuesday afternoon, the most current available, shows voters have asked for nearly 200,000 ballots for the election, which features races for president, the U.S. Senate and all 186 seats in the Maine Legislature.

Voters are being encouraged by election officials, including Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, to use absentee voting to limit their exposure to the coronavirus.

In all, 196,129 voters have requested absentee ballots. That represents about 18 percent of the 1,063,383 voters registered in Maine as of the July primary. Democratic voters make up the bulk of the absentee requests, with 113,714, compared with 30,554 Republican requests, 6,206 Green Party requests and 45,685 requests from unenrolled voters.

Maine voters broke records in an unusual July primary, which was postponed from June because of the pandemic, casting more than 200,000 absentee ballots. They are on pace to shatter that record in November.

Any registered Maine voter living in the United States can apply for an absentee ballot online by filling out an electronic request form that asks for personal data and a mailing address. The applications are forwarded to town or city clerks’ offices, where they are processed and mailed back to the applicants in early October. Ballots should begin going out on Oct. 3.

Election and U.S. Postal Service officials are encouraging voters who cast ballots by mail to mail them back at least 10 days before the Nov. 3 election.

In addition to mailing an absentee ballot, a voter can fill out a ballot and return it to the town office in person by Election Day.

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