Last week, the Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine held its last meeting. The commission was created last year by then-Secretary of State Charlie Summers to study voting in Maine.
At the time, the outlook was grim for voting rights. It seemed certain that the commission would recommend a voter ID law. Requiring voters to present photo ID before participating in elections creates an unacceptable burden for thousands of eligible Maine voters.
The commission held eight public hearings throughout the state. The ACLU of Maine was there at every single one, alongside the League of Women Voters and Mainers passionate about voting.
After hearing from people all over the state, the commission confirmed last week that that it will not recommend voter ID. In fact, the commission members heard our members’ and other Mainers’ cry for increased access to voting and will recommend a constitutional amendment for true early voting!
True early voting would make it possible for people to cast ballots before the election and have them counted immediately. Establishing such a system in the law will expand access to the ballot for thousands of Mainers, including full-time workers, parents, and the elderly.
We are hopeful that Maine will make it easier for all qualified voters to cast their ballots, by steering clear of Voter ID and implementing true early voting.