Proposed legislation would improve and modernize absentee process
[AUGUSTA, ME] — The Maine House voted in support of two democracy bills Tuesday aimed at modernizing and improving the state’s absentee voting process. LD 1575 ensures that student IDs can be used for proof of identity when registering to vote, and LD 148 establishes a permanent absentee voting list for disabled voters and those over the age of 65. The bills now head to the Senate for initial approval.
These two bills are the first in a package of four this session that seek to upgrade Maine’s election systems. Legislation to expand the use of ballot dropboxes (LD 1363) and to establish online voter registration (LD 1126) are expected to be voted on in the coming days.
Mainers for Modern Elections, a coalition of election reform-minded organizations who have been working closely on this democracy modernization package, issued the following statements in response:
“Maine has a history of leading the nation when it comes to making our elections safe and accessible. It’s great to see Maine elected officials take the lessons we learned from voting during the pandemic and make changes that will make the absentee process better,” said Rob Booth, RepresentUs Senior Organizer. “We look forward to these two bills becoming law, and to continue working to make Maine the most accessible state to vote in.”
“With the votes in favor of these bills, we are one step closer to eliminating unnecessary barriers to voting for all eligible Mainers,” said Anna Kellar, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Maine. “These are common sense measures that will reduce hassle and confusion at the polling place, and help ensure all voters can participate if they choose.”
“In 2020, we adapted the election process to ensure that all Maine people were able to more easily, safely, and securely cast their votes. I am pleased to see that many of these changes are well on their way to becoming permanent improvements to Maine's elections. Ensuring that all eligible people, no matter their age or abilities, can participate in our democracy is essential,” said Will Sedlack, Civic Engagement Manager at Maine Conservation Voters.
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 AARP Maine, ACLU of Maine, the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, Gateway Community Services, League of Women Voters of Maine, Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Maine Conservation Voters, Maine Education Association, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Service Employees Association - SEIU Local 1989, Maine Women’s Lobby, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and RepresentUS.