AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Maine legislators, municipal clerks, and elections advocates are holding ribbon-cuttings this week for automatic voter registration at three Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches.

“This will be a convenient new option for registering to vote, or updating your voter registration,” Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said in an announcement from her office. Bellows oversees Maine’s BMV and Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.

When Maine residents age 16 or older visit a BMV branch to get or renew a Maine driver’s license or ID and provide proof of residency and citizenship, they will be prompted with the opportunity to register to vote or update their voter registration.

Maine 16- and 17-year-olds will be preregistered, and Mainers 18 and older will be registered. To vote in a referendum or general election, Maine voters must be 18, though 17-year-olds may vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by that year’s general election. Sixteen-year-olds may only preregister.

“Mainers visit our branches when they move or change their name, and we’re asking these folks for the same information as they need to register to vote, so we’re happy to help our elections and municipal partners in keeping their voter rolls up to date,” Deputy BMV Secretary Cathie Curtis said in the announcement.

The information compiled, including name, address, and date of birth, will be sent electronically to the voter’s municipality to complete the registration process. While paper forms will remain an option, sending data electronically will reduce transcription errors and cut down on processing time for election officials.

CEC Deputy Secretary Julie Flynn noted that “automatic voter registration will improve efficiency in election administration while maintaining security.”

Automatic voter registration was passed into law and signed by Gov. Janet Mills in 2019. With this implementation, Maine becomes the 22nd state to have automatic voter registration.

The first ribbon-cutting was held Wednesday, July 20, at the BMV bureau in Scarborough. Ribbon-cuttings were planned Thursday, July 21, at bureaus in Bangor and Caribou.