It’s that time of year again, when Maine voters who serve in the military, who are living overseas or who just want the convenience of voting early can request an absentee ballot. This year requests for absentee ballots are on pace to top the number in the presidential contest of four years ago and according to reports, more Democrats are requesting them than Republicans.

PORTLAND, Maine - Elected officials from Portland, Lewiston, Westbrook and North Berwick held a press conference today in support of Ballot Question 2.

The question would add a 3 percent tax surcharge on incomes higher than $200,000 a year. That money would go to fund public k-through-12 education in the state.

Among the measure's supporters is Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.

ORONO, Maine - The University of Maine is creating the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature in honor of one of its most famous graduates.

The university is collecting applications from English professors to fill the position now. The appointment is set to begin in August and is a five-year, renewable term.

The university says the position is tenured and designed to honor the UMaine English department's "most celebrated graduate.'' The school says the position will have undergraduate education as a central focus.

PORTLAND, Maine - Travel writer and public television host Rick Steves has been in Maine the last couple of days to lend his support to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. 

Steves has donated $100,000 to the campaign in an effort to pass Question 1 on the November ballot.  He says he sees Question 1 as a common sense way to legalize, tax and regulate a relatively benign drug, despite the concerns raised by the opposition.

BANGOR, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage says he doesn't think Maine is going to have a "clean election'' because IDs aren't required to vote.

LePage told WVOM-FM on Tuesday that "people from the cemetery'' will be voting, and that people who aren't citizens will be voting, as well. He said that until identification is required at polling places that elections in Maine and the U.S. won't be "legitimate.''

PORTLAND, Maine - Herring fishermen are nearing their quota along New England's coast and the fishery will be shut down until further notice.

The National Marine Fisheries Service says fishermen in the inshore Gulf of Maine have caught about 90 percent of their quota and the fishery was shut down early Tuesday morning. The inshore fishing zone ranges from Cape Cod to the eastern edge of the Maine coast.

Herring are an important bait fish, especially in the lobster fishery. A shortage of the fish in offshore waters caused a bait shortage in New England during the summer.

PORTLAND, Maine - State regulators will make a decision soon about the scope of this year's Maine scallop fishing season.

Maine scallops are popular in the seafood world because of how big and meaty some of them grow. The scallop fishery has been relatively stable in recent years, with prices high and volume of catch holding around 300,000 to 600,000 pounds of meat per year.

AUGUSTA, Maine -Those who try to pass off pets as service animals in Maine now face a $1,000 fine under a new law.

The Maine Human Rights Commission says many people in the disability community are unaware of the changes, which include a new category called assistance animals. Such animals are either trained or determined to be necessary to provide comfort and support to people with physical or mental disabilities.

Service animals, in contrast, are dogs trained to do specific tasks such as pulling a wheelchair or guiding individuals who are totally or partially blind.

Advocates for expanding solar power’s footprint in Maine turned out in force Monday to call on regulators to preserve policies they say have fostered the industry’s growth. They’re also requesting that any changes be left to the next Legislature.

Spending in a Maine congressional race that was already shattering records edged higher today after Hillary Clinton’s coordinated campaign said it would boost efforts here to elect Clinton, along with Democratic 2nd congressional candidate Emily Cain.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

Election officials across the country are pushing back against Donald Trump’s assertions that the presidential election may be rigged. Maine’s top election official says elections in Maine have too many safeguards to make that possible.

Pat Wellenbach / The Associated Press

LEWISTON, Maine -- Maine’s assistant Senate majority leader, Republican Andre Cushing, is being sued by his sister.

BANGOR, Maine - Hillary Clinton's campaign is boosting efforts in several battleground states, including Maine, where at least one poll shows voter preference tightening in the 2nd Congressional District.

Clinton's coordinated campaign has earmarked $6 million to help down-ballot candidates, including those in the two states that are allowed to split their electoral votes.

PORTLAND, Maine - Water flows in the Mattawamkaeg, Piscataquis and Saint John Rivers have fallen to levels not seen in 80 or more years of record keeping.

National Weather Service forecaster Maureen Hastings, in Caribou, says the low-flow readings are a sign of growing drought conditions in parts of northern Maine.

"Something interesting we had seen coming through some local social media is that the rivers are so low people are able to walk across them," Hastings says. "And that includes the Saint John River, so, of course, that may have some issues there."

PORTLAND, Maine - Over the weekend, York police responded to a 24-year-old man who overdosed on elephant tranquilizer.

Sgt. John Lizanecz says carfentanil is the lastest synthetic opioid that's being mixed with heroin, and it's 10,000 more times powerful than morphine. 

"If you touch skin-to-skin on this, even a couple of grains - they liken it to granules of salt - can kill you, if it touches your skin, or if you inhale it," Lizanecz says.