[PORTLAND, ME] — On the anniversary of the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, Mainers came together to host candlelight vigils across the state to say: In America, the voters decide the outcome of elections. To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, advocates are demanding that elected leaders pass urgent voting rights legislation at the federal level.
Our democracy is under threat. It is important now more than ever that Congress pass the Freedom to Vote Act to protect our fundamental right to vote. At the candlelight vigil in Portland, advocates spoke about the importance of passing the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. Statehood.
Advocates also spoke about maintaining election security and integrity and keeping Maine’s elections free, fair, and accessible. At the state level, Maine lawmakers will again consider LD 1155, An Act To Require Election Transparency and Audits. This bipartisan bill will bring true and secure post-election audits to Maine. This is an important step to protect Maine’s elections moving forward, and it is almost over the finish line. This bill passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature in 2021, but is still awaiting funding.
“Our democracy continues to be threatened by waves of voter suppression laws in states and by false narratives of election fraud. We are calling on the US Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act the Protecting about Democracy Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The eyes of your constituents, the world and of history are on you,” said Anna Kellar, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Maine.
“January 6th is a warning to us that if we do not fasten our pace in protecting our voting rights and the influence of our activism, we will face a country that will no longer listen to the needs of the majority. We can not sit complacently for any longer and see politicians get away with the rise of authoritarianism and political violence,” said Cole Cochrane, Legislative Coordinator at Maine Youth Climate Justice.
“Most Americans know of the Khmer Rouge, but what many do not know or remember was the coup in 1997 when the leader of the Cambodian People’s Party took control of the country with violent force,” said Theary Leng Ryder, Executive Director of Khmer Maine. “I still believe in the America that I dreamed about. The America where I can raise my daughter in a community and school where I know she’ll be safe. I still believe in the America where our politicians and elected officials believe in the truth, in science, in facts. I still believe in the America where liberty, justice, democracy and equality for all still matters.”
Mainers for Accountable Leadership Action and League of Women Voters of Maine collaborated on the event in Portland.
Candlelight vigils were held in Belfast, Bangor, Bucksport, Camden, Farmington, Lewiston, Newcastle, and Portland. Over 200 events took place across the country, including in the U.S. Capitol.
Additional event Co-Sponsors include: Maine AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, Maine Poor People’s Campaign, Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Youth Power, Maine Women’s Lobby, Sierra Club, Women’s March Maine, Women’s March Portland, Indivisible Mount Desert Island, Indivisible Bangor, Swing Hard, Turn Left!
This event was hosted by Mainers for Accountable Leadership Action and League of Women Voters of Maine and was one of over 200 vigils and voter actions that will be held across the country on January 6 in partnership with the Not Above the Law coalition and the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) coalition, which includes Mainers for Accountable Leadership Action (MFAL Action is a member of both coalitions) and League of Women Voters of Maine, a nonpartisan grassroots organization. MFAL Action is a part of the national planning team for this day of action.