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Maine Secretary of State testifies against voter ID bill


Maine Secretary of State testifies against voter ID bill

Feb 07, 2023 | 9:11 am ET
By Public News Service
Maine Secretary of State testifies against voter ID bill
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 6: A sign reminds voters they need photo ID to vote at polling station at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church on Election Day, November 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Drew Angerer, Getty Images

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said a bill to require Maine voters to present photo identification in order to cast ballots is unnecessary and could reduce eligible voter turnout.

Bellows testified Monday before the Committee for Veterans and Legal Affairs against Legislative Document 34, noting a new voter ID law would create logistical problems at the polls and place new financial burdens on the state.

“Maine already requires proof of identity and residency at the time of voter registration,” Bellows pointed out. “That is a safeguard to ensure that only Maine citizens are participating in Maine elections.”

Bellows noted voter ID laws disproportionately impact seniors, people with disabilities, people of color and transgender people, and a voter ID law may undermine trust in the fairness of Maine elections among those communities.

The voter ID legislation is part of a broader effort by Republicans to focus on election security and stems from the perpetuation of unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Another bill before the Maine Legislature would require voters to update their voter registration every four years.

Bellows argued Maine elections are already free, fair and secure.

“Responding to unfounded fears by passing legislation in response to those fears is not the best way to increase public confidence in our elections,” Bellows asserted.

Maine makes it easy to vote, allowing voter registration on Election Day, and consistently ranks as a top state in voter participation.