Maine House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) has introduced a bill for the second legislative session that would remove the requirement to prove legal presence in the U.S. in order to obtain a driver’s license.
The bill, LD 1138, also proposes removing the requirement that an applicant for a driver’s license provide proof of being ineligible to receive a social security number if they do not provide a social security number on their application.
In cases of applicants for driver’s licenses or nondriver identification cards who are not U.S. citizens and not legal permanent residents of the U.S., Speaker Talbot Ross’ bill would repeal certain provisions that align the expiration of the applicant’s legal stay in the country with the expiration date of their license or card.
This would effectively allow noncitizens who are unlawfully present in the U.S. to obtain driver’s licenses or nondriver identification cards.
Although noncitizens are not legally able to vote in federal elections, registrars of voters are not required to check the immigration status of voter registration applicants.
Noncitizens who would be eligible to receive a driver’s license or state ID without proving legal presence in the U.S. under Talbot Ross’ bill, if passed, would therefore be able to illegally register to vote in Maine.
Talbot Ross first introduced LD 1138 during the last legislative session, when it was referred to the Committee on Transportation, tabled in late May 2023, and carried over to the second legislative session in July.
Co-sponsors of Talbot Ross’ bill include Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland), Sen. Mike Tipping (D-Penobscot), Rep. Ambureen Rana (D-Bangor), and Rep. Lynne Williams (D-Bar Harbor).
The bill is scheduled for a public hearing before the Transportation Committee on Tuesday, Jan 16.
If passed, Maine would join a group of 19 states and Washington D.C. which have enacted laws allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, including Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut.