Protecting the Voting Process during the Spread of COVID-19
Press Release April 6, 2020
[PORTLAND, ME] – The League of Women Voters of Maine joins 12 other Maine advocacy organizations that are ardently committed to making sure that every eligible Mainer is able to vote, and that every proper vote is counted. Collectively, they call on the Governor and Secretary of State to take action to ensure that the primary elections are carried out smoothly.
Even the smallest of barriers can have a significant impact on the ability of eligible voters to participate in an election, and the COVID-19 pandemic is anything but a small barrier.
We believe that successful primary and general elections, in which as many of our fellow citizens are able to participate as possible, will require some significant changes to the ways in which registration, absentee voting, and in-person voting are conducted. Significant funding may be available from the federal government to support these efforts, for both the state and municipalities.
These recommendations include:
- Flexibility in accepting voter registration applications by email and relaxing voter registration deadlines
- Mailing an absentee ballot request to all registered voters and streamlining party enrollment through that process
- Paid postage for absentee ballot requests and ballot returns
- Massive, coordinated communication with voters
- In-person voting compliant with CDC guidelines for other essential services
- Early voting and extended ballot counting deadlines
“We face uncertain times but one thing will never change: elections are essential,” said Anna Kellar, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Maine. “We must continue to ensure that elections are administered fairly and in a way that protects access to voting for every eligible Mainer”
The organizations issuing the recommendations are: AARP of Maine, ACLU of Maine, Maine AFL-CIO, League of Women Voters of Maine, Maine Conservation Alliance, Maine Education Association, Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Service Employees Association - SEIU Local 1989, Maine Center for Economic Policy, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Women’s Lobby Education Fund, NextGen Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England