AUGUSTA, Maine — A pair of bills to expand early voting in Maine have gained ground in the Maine House.

Representatives on Thursday followed the Senate in approving a bill directing elections officials to administer a pilot program for early voting in selected towns and cities in next November’s election. The bill passed by an 87-54 vote.

By a similar 87-53 tally, the House also approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would permit early voting on a statewide basis. This bill needs a constitutional amendment because it would allow early voting in an election in which candidates are elected. It would need two-thirds majority approval on the final tally.

Both bills are sponsored by Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro.

Supporters say the bills would enhance voter participation.