A bill proposed by Maine House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) that would have allowed illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses was shot down by the Legislature’s Transportation Committee during a Tuesday afternoon public hearing.
The bill, LD 1138, would have removed the requirement to prove legal presence in the U.S. in order to obtain a Maine driver’s license or state identification card.
When opening the public hearing on the bill, Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Lydia Crafts (D-Newcastle) said that Talbot Ross had “requested that we [the Transportation Committee] move ‘ought not to pass’ on this.”
Alicia Collins, who is on the Board of Selectmen in Sidney, Maine, testified in opposition to Talbot Ross’ bill Tuesday — the only testimony heard by the Committee during the public hearing.
Collins expressed her concerns that allowing non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses or state ID would allow them to illegally register to vote.
Although non-citizens are prohibited from voting in federal elections, registrars of voters in Maine are not required to check the immigration status of voter registration applicants.
Speaker Talbot Ross’ bill, if passed, would therefore make it easier for non-citizens to illegally register to vote in Maine using a driver’s license or state ID, without having to prove their legal presence in the country.
“Why should I even vote?” Collins asked the Committee in her testimony, referring to how many non-citizens would be able to register to vote if Talbot Ross’ bill was passed.
“Do you think it’s fair for non-citizens, who do not have a part in our tax system, to become part of our election process?” she asked.
Collins also cited Maine Secretary of State’s decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot, as well the the Legislature’s recent consideration of joining a national popular vote initiative as other efforts to disenfranchise Mainers.
Following Collins’ testimony, the Transportation Committee voted to move into work session on LD 1138, and Sen. Brad Farrin (R-Somerset) moved “ought not to pass” on Talbot Ross’ bill.
The Committee then voted in favor of the motion “ought not to pass,” effectively killing the House Speaker’s bill.
Although Maine will not be giving out drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens or other non-citizens this year, Maine law still contains a loophole that allows such eligible voters to register to vote.
Maine election law allows non-citizens with a drivers’ license from another state and a piece of mail showing residency to register to vote. Because states like New York and Massachusetts will provide drivers’ licenses to non-citizens, this effectively creates a pathway for people who are eligible to vote to obtain and cast a ballot anyways.