Maine’s top election official testified Monday against a bill that would require voters to produce photo identification to cast ballots, saying it’s unnecessary and would reduce voter participation.
Maine already requires proof of identity when registering to vote and requiring residents to show a specific ID again would increase costs, complications and consequences, and turn eligible voters away, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, told the Committee On Veterans and Legal Affairs.
“Forcing people to carry a specific type of photo identification to vote would result in logistical challenges, financial burdens and potential discrimination,” she said.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Matthew Pouliot of Augusta, to require voters to present identification at the time of voting is part of a broader effort by Republicans to focus on voting security. Another bill, by Republican Rep. Abigail Griffin, R-Levant, would require voters to update their registration every four years.
Those proposals face tough prospects in a state where there’s no evidence of widespread voting fraud and both chambers of the Legislature are controlled by Democrats.
Maine makes it easy to vote, allowing voter registration on the same day as an election.
A bill by Sen. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, would make it easier to vote by absentee ballot by providing postage prepaid return envelopes when voters request absentee ballots by mail.