Making Democracy Work

Protect Maine Votes

Working for Voter Participation in Maine

What's new in the fight for voter participation in Maine.

New from the Brennan Center

Read this important new study from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU: Seven Early Voting Ideas to Improve Outdated Election Process

Presidential Commission on Election Administration

The final report from this bipartisan Presidential commission recommends Early Voting, among other measures.

Early Voting for Maine

In its 2013 session, the The Maine Legislature narrowly rejected LD 156, a constitutional amendment to establish an option for for early voting. LD 156 was carried over and is being considered again in 2014. It's time for true Early Voting to come to Maine.

Don't we already have that? Actually, we don't. Not really. What we sometimes hear called "early voting" is really in-person absentee voting. Early voting is different because, unlike in-person absentee voting, ballots are cast immediately - not put aside to be cast by a clerk on Election Day. With true early voting, the voter casts their own ballot into the ballot box or optical scanning machine when they vote before Election Day.

Why do we need it?

  • Early voting reduces congestion on Election Day
  • It helps eliminate long lines at the polls
  • It reduces pressure on election officials
  • It provides an important convenience to many voters
  • It contributes to a more secure and orderly process for the conduct of elections

Who supports it? This legislation is supported by the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of Maine, the Disability Rights Center, the Maine Women's Coalition, Speaking Up for Us of Maine, and many others.

What can you do? Stay tuned for opportunities to help when the legislature reconvenes.

Learn More! Early Voting 1-pager: Read it, print it, share it!

Background

For the last few years, voting rights have been under attack all around the country. But here in Maine we've fought back.

On February 5, 2013, the Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine released the report of its findings, and we're excited for a whole host of reasons. The Commission not only rejected voter ID, it also endorsed same-day voter registration and early voting! You can read the full report here.

Eight public hearings were held from August through November and members of the League of Women Voters attended every single one of them. Over and over again, Maine voters testified in opposition to voter ID and in support of same day voter registration and early voting. We worked tirelessly to publicize the hearings in local communities, and you responded.

As exciting as this news is, however, we do not agree with everything in the report, including a recommendation to tighten residency requirements for voting. This could discourage young people who attend college here from voting, and it continues a recent trend of attacks on student voting rights. We will work to forestall these proposals.

But we do want to see true early voting become the law in Maine, and it could happen this legislative session with your help. A constitutional amendment has been proposed that would allow early voting, and the League of Women Voters will be working with coalition partners to make it happen.

Read More

Maine clerks prepare for onslaught of ballots, Associated Press story, October 1, 2014.

Our View: Maine should pass early voting amendment, editorial in the Portland Press Herald, February 22, 2013.

Early Voting in Maine at the Secretary of State's web site contains reports from the 2007 and 2009 pilot programs conducted in Maine.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's letter to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee introducing the Elections Commission report, February 1, 2013.

Final report of the Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine January 28, 2013.

Our View: Panel report should end talk of voter ID in Maine, editorial in the Portland Press Herald, February 11, 2013.

ACLU of Maine, League of Women Voters Applaud Much of New Election Commission Report, joint press release from LWVME and ACLU of Maine, February 5, 2013.

At What Price? The Cost of Voter ID in Maine, a new report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy that analyzes the cost of implementing a voter ID requirement in Maine.

College students: You cannot be denied your vote, op-ed from Shenna Bellows of the ACLU of Maine in the Bangor Daily News, October 15, 2012.

College students should be able to cast local ballots, editorial in the Journal Tribune, October 12, 2012.

Forum: People want expanded voting, not less of it, reporting in the Lewiston Sun Journal from the hearing on October 4, 2012.

Absentee voting is for benefit of voters, not candidates, editorial in the Bangor Daily News, September 27, 2012.

Voters shut out of election hearing, letters to the editor of the Portland Press Herald, September 8, 2012.

Voter ID Wars, Op-Doc by Mo Rocca in the New York Times, September 5, 2012.

Requiring voter IDs is a guise to solve a nonexistent problem, editorial in the Bangor Daily News, September 5, 2012.

GOP-Backed Voter Fraud Laws Aim To Disenfranchise Students, The Daily Beast, September 3, 2012.

Our View: Maine does not need a voter ID requirement, editorial in the Portland Press Herald, August 26, 2012.

Words to live by: Protect the vote, Bill Nemitz in the Portland Press Herald, August 26, 2012.

Voting Rights & Elections at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.

Voting Rights & Voter Registration at Demos.

League Members Speak to the Commission