AUGUSTA — Members of the Maine State Legislature are discussing a bundle of bills, all of which would require photo IDs in order to vote in state elections.
One of the bills’ sponsors, Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, said the reason behind requiring IDs is simple: it’s to make elections as fair as possible.
He said poll after poll shows this is what both Mainers and people across the nation want.
“They want their vote to have 100 percent of its value, not to be watered down by any possible dastardly activities that may occur by a loose and abusable system,” Cebra said.
A sponsor of one of the bills, Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, said it would help prevent dual voting.
“It is not legal to be a citizen in two places and claim citizenship for the benefit of voting in one state while maintaining citizenship in another state for other reasons,” Faulkingham said.
Faulkingham said the voter ID law would encourage people to get Maine licenses which would increase state revenue.
Those in opposition at the public hearing said requiring an ID can negatively impact minority groups.
“Implementing these bills would put in place a form of discrimination which is truly, unfortunately, rooted in white supremacy,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.
Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said it’s caused issues in other states who have adopted the law.
“It would appear that their purpose is to create barriers to voting,” said Frey. “Whether or not it’s intended, they do create barriers. It’s one more thing that a voter is going to have to do to exercise their constitutional right to cast their vote.”
Proponents said an ID is required during registration and that is sufficient.
Opponents said an ID is required for driving, buying alcohol, and many other things.
The Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs is expected to revisit these bills in a work session in the next few weeks.