The Maine Legislature is being asked to pass voter ID as a way to increase confidence in elections- this time following the controversies of 2020.
Maine already requires people to show proof of who they are and where they live when they register to vote. But when those voters actually go to the polls, they just have to state their name and address, with no requirement to show an ID.
Four bills are being proposed that would mandate voter photo ID at the polls, all are sponsored by Republicans. Voter ID has for a long time been a partisan issue. Similar proposals have been failed passage in previous years, largely along party lines. Several of the Voter ID bills would require the state to create a program to provide appropriate IDs to those populations for free.
Maine’s Secretary of State and Attorney General, both of whom are Democrats, both oppose voter ID. Supporters of Voter ID argue that most Mainers already use IDs on a frequent basis at stores, medical facilities, banks, for travel, or other needs. More than 30 states have some kind of ID rule for voting, including New Hampshire, which does require voter ID, and currently, 47 states are considering new requirements, such as photo ID, for voters.
The bills were heard during a public hearing in front of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. The bills drew opposition and support from many. The committee will sort through those bills in the coming weeks before they go to the full legislature for a vote.