The ACLU has a long history of fighting voter suppression and has been on the front lines defending the Voting Rights Act. But the work is far from finished and issues of voter suppression and disenfranchisement continue to pop up.
In recent years, the fight has continued as the ACLU went up against President Trump’s commission on “election integrity”; took Kris Kobach and Kansas’ voter suppression law to court, debunking claims of widespread voter fraud; and recently fought suppression tactics in Georgia that sought to throw out absentee ballots without due process.
Luckily, Maine had one of the highest voter turnout rates in the country for the 2016 election, in part because we have some of the most protective voting laws in the country. You don’t need a voter ID to vote in Maine. You don’t need to own a home. And, harassing eligibility challenges at the polls are prohibited. But that doesn’t mean instances of voter suppression can’t occur here.
Below are a few examples of what counts as voter suppression and recommendations on what you should do if you encounter these issues at the polls in Maine.
It is illegal for anyone to pressure you to not vote or to vote a specific way.
What to do? Report any instances of intimidation to a polling official or to your town clerk. If you continue to have issues, call us at (207) 774-5444.
You are not required to show ID at the polls.
What to do? If you are registering to vote at the polls, you may be asked to prove your identity and eligibility. If you have a driver’s license, that will work, but you can use other documents as well. If you don’t have any documents with your name and address, you can sign a form swearing that you are who you say you are, and then you will be allowed to register and vote.
Being Denied Help:
Poll workers are required to help you complete your ballot if you request their help, allow you to bring someone into the voting booth if you prefer, and give you a new ballot if you make a mistake and request a fresh one.
What to do? If you are worried about being able to successfully fill out a ballot without assistance, you are allowed to bring someone you trust to help you. Or, you can ask a poll worker to help you. If you encounter any resistance from polling officials in response to bringing an aide, report the issue to your town clerk. If you continue to have issues, call us at (207) 774-5444.
Being Turned Away:
If you are eligible to vote and are in line at the polls before they close, you may not be turned away. Additionally, in the state of Maine, a criminal record does not disqualify you from voting.
What to do? If polling officials question your eligibility to vote, ask to cast a challenged ballot. A challenged ballot is counted just like all of the other ballots. In the case of a recount, there may be a need to go back and resolve challenges, but that is very rare in Maine.
If you think you have been wrongfully denied the right to vote or treated unfairly at the polls, contact the ACLU of Maine: (207) 774-5444.