- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would establish a process allowing towns to create in-person early voting systems.

The Democratic-led Senate voted 21-14 Tuesday in favor of the bill that supporters say is necessary to help clerks who are overwhelmed by the number of people who vote using absentee ballots prior to elections.

The vote falls short of the two-thirds support it will need for final approval to be sent to voters for consideration. The House gave initial approval to the measure last month.

Opponents question whether an early voting system will create a disparity between big cities and smaller towns, which wouldn’t be able to afford to create an early voting system.

The bill faces final votes in the House and Senate.