Weeks after Secretary Bellows, Representative Pierce, and advocates share support for online voter registration, OVR approved in 8-5 vote
[PORTLAND, ME] — Mainers for Modern Elections — a new coalition committed to ensuring that our right to vote safely transcends politics and partisanship — applauds the committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs for their majority approval of LD 1126: An Act To Update the Voter Registration Process. Forty states and the District of Columbia have online voter registration (OVR); creating an OVR system in Maine is an important step toward modernizing Maine’s election system and improving efficiency, voter access, and voter security.
The committee vote follows MME’s Democracy Day event, where Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Rep. Teresa Pierce, youth advocate Lilliana Frantz, and labor rights advocate Linda Deane spoke in support of online voter registration.
“I see online voter registration as really a way to sort of catapult us forward and make it simpler for clerks, and also simpler for the voter and then that way, just better for our democracy all the way around,” said Rep. Teresa Pierce of Falmouth, the bill sponsor, during the Democracy Day event.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows lauded Rep. Pierce’s comprehensive legislation and shared her eagerness to bring OVR to Maine. “As the state's chief elections officer, I'd like to add that this bill will move us forward in more efficient and secure elections administration. It will make it easier for municipal clerks who will not have to decipher handwriting on those paper cards and then do data entry, which sometimes subjects this to further errors. This will reduce potential lines in some polling places on election day if voters have the opportunity to register to vote in advance rather than on the same day,” said Secretary Bellows.
After identifying multiple areas for improvement in Maine’s election system after their work in the 2020 election, several Maine-based groups operating in the democracy space formed Mainers for Modern Elections to collectively advocate for safe, secure, and modern elections. The coalition is committed to securing equitable access to the ballot for every eligible Maine voter and consists of justice, labor, conservation, and women’s rights groups. “The diversity in our coalition’s membership furthers how essential a functioning and modern election system impacts all Maine people,” said one of the group’s founders, Anna Kellar.
LD 1126 faces further votes in the State House and State Senate.
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, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, Gateway Community Services, AARP of Maine, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.