Maine’s prospects for adopting a voter identification law don’t look great for the current legislature.
LD 34, “An Act to Require a Person to Show Photographic Identification for the Purpose of Voting,” drew opposition Monday from a host of left-wing organizations in the state, including Planned Parenthood of New England, the ACLU of Maine, and the Maine Education Association.
Also weighing in against the bill were Gov. Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey, and without the governor’s support the bill is almost certainly going nowhere.
“The bill, if enacted would disproportionately impact our senior citizens, working people, and those who lack access to reliable transportation,” Mills said.
“If this bill passed, people in more rural areas of our state would have to drive long distances to access government services where identification documents can be obtained,” she said.
In his statement opposing the bill, Frey said voter fraud is non-existent.
“The stated rationale for these laws is one rooted in a falsehood that there is widespread voter fraud committed by individuals,” he said.
The proposal was introduced by Sen. Matthew Pouliot (R-Kennebec). It would require voters to present valid photo identification prior to voting. To mediate concerns about the cost or burden of acquiring identification, the law would also allow anyone to request a free voter identification card from the Secret of State’s office.
Nick Murray, a policy analyst with the Maine Policy Institute, also spoke in favor of the bill. Murray said allegations that voter ID laws would disparately harm racial and ethnic minorities have been dispelled by Georgia’s experience since it adopted the requirements in 2008.
“In the four years after Georgia implemented its then-controversial voter ID law in 2008, turnout among Black and Hispanic voters increased and even outpaced overall population growth among those demographics,” said Murray.
“Even through 2022, turnout in the state continues to break records. A poll conducted by the University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs found no Black voters who said they had a poor experience at the polls last year,” he said.
[DISCLOSURE: The Maine Wire is a project of the Maine Policy Institute]