Maine to allow online voter registration in upcoming election
Democratic Representative Teresa Pierce proposed the law, which will come into effect in November 2023.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Residents of Maine will soon be able to register to vote through a secure online portal.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signed a proposal passed by the Maine legislature that supporters say will expand access to the vote. Democratic Representative Teresa Pierce proposed the law, which will come into effect in November 2023.
Pierce said on Friday that the new law “will modernize our voter registration system while emphasizing accessibility and security.”
âSo many members of our communities will benefit, from aging Mainers to working parents to the military. To strengthen our democracy, we must look for ways to improve access to the vote, not limit it, âPierce said in a statement Friday. âMaine has long been a leader in voting and election policy. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly and to the Governor for signing this measure aimed at modernizing our voter registration system while emphasizing accessibility and security.
Critics of the proposal were concerned about the security of the system and ensuring that only eligible voters can register.
Patti Dubois, a representative for the Maine Town and City Clerks’ Association, said in a public hearing in April that the group supported the bill, but wanted clarification on how voters would give their signatures, which clerks often use.
The law won support from voting rights advocates and Maine Secretary of State Sheenna Bellows, who oversees the state’s elections.
âProviding a secure online voter registration portal is an important step in making the voting process more accessible to all citizens of Maine,â Bellows said. âAn online registration option would eliminate the difficulty of accessing a physical voter card at the municipal office and allow clerks to more easily manage updates to their voters lists. Nowadays, people expect to be able to do business online and we are convinced that today’s technology will allow us to implement this new option in a secure and efficient manner.
The Maine Department of Secretary of State will implement the new law.