Advocates, Secretary Bellows, legislators to speak in support of online voter registration

Monday, April 5, 2021
Jen Lancaster

VLA committee holds public hearing on LD 1126 at 10 a.m.

[PORTLAND, ME] — Advocates, lawmakers, and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows will be speaking in support of legislation to bring online voter registration to Maine at a public hearing before the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee this morning at 10:00 a.m. Online voter registration is an important step in modernizing Maine’s election system and improving efficiency and voter security. 

“Voting is not a privilege, it is a right. Our government leaders have a duty to ensure that every Mainer who wants to can register to vote securely and without added burdens,” said Anna Keller of Mainers for Modern Elections. “Forty other states plus the District of Columbia already have online voter registration; it’s time to bring online voter registration to Maine.” 

LD 1126, An Act to Update the Voter Registration Process, is sponsored by Rep. Teresa Pierce of Falmouth. 

Statements in support of online voter registration:

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows: “Online voter registration will make it easier for all Maine citizens to participate in the democratic process, and will especially encourage registration by young voters, who have grown up accustomed to online services. In a rural State like Maine, arranging transportation to visit the town office can be a challenge for some voters, while others must weigh the option of missing time from work to visit during limited business hours. Implementing secure technology to offer this new service will simplify the registration process will make it easier for voters to participate in their government.”

Meagan Sway, Policy Director, ACLU of Maine: "Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is protected by more constitutional amendments than any other civil right. This is because the right to vote protects all other rights. That's why it's crucial for policymakers to advance reforms like online voter registration -- to ensure all eligible citizens who want to cast a ballot and participate in our elections are able to do so."

Rob Booth, Senior Organizer, RepresentUs: “Forty other states already have Online Voter Registration and it has proven to be safe, secure, and efficient. OVR has also been shown to save states money, since it eliminates the need for town clerks to re-enter information or follow-up with questions about illegible or missing Information. It is time to modernize Maine’s elections, and online voter registration is a great start.”

Will Sedlack, Civic Engagement Manager, Maine Conservation Alliance: “Voting is a sacred right, not a privilege, and should not be contingent on the owning of a printer. Establishing an online voter registration system for Maine makes good sense for a few reasons, notably that it is more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible than our current system.”

Anna Kellar, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Maine: "Times change, Technology changes. Voters adapt. Our election systems must keep pace. Online voter registration (OVR) is the next threshold reform to keep Maine a leader in voting systems."

Mainers for Modern Elections is a coalition committed to ensuring that our right to vote safely transcends politics and partisanship. The coalition advocates for safe, secure, modern elections and is committed to securing equitable access to the ballot for every eligible Maine voter. Members include the ACLU of Maine, League of Women Voters of Maine, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Maine Conservation Alliance, Represent US, Center for Secure and Modern Election, the Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Women’s Lobby, the Maine Education Association, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.