Justice

After Voters Reject One Voter Suppression Measure, Maine GOP Moves On To Another

In apparent efforts to keep up with GOP efforts across the country, Maine Republicans keep trying — and keep failing — to enact laws that make it harder for Mainers to vote. Efforts to pass a stringent voter identification law failed in the state Senate this fall, and voters offered a strong rebuke at the polls Tuesday, shooting down a GOP attempt that would have ended same-day registration, even as conservative donors funneled $250,000 in undisclosed donations in attempt to uphold the law.

Ignoring those failures, Maine Republicans –including Gov. Paul LePage — have pledged to continue their fight to restrict voting rights and will revisit their voter ID bill when a new legislative session begins in January, the AP reports:

But after a voter ID bill that passed the House failed in the Senate this year, lawmakers decided to carry it over to the session that starts in January. And Republican Gov. Paul LePage believes the issue needs to be revisited, notwithstanding Tuesday’s vote, said spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. […]

The voter ID bill had more than 80 co-sponsors — all Republicans — when Rep. Richard Cebra introduced it.

The Naples Republican sees his proposal as a reasonable, constitutionally sound means to protect Maine elections from fraud. He also dismisses assertions that such laws deprive citizens of their right to vote.

Republican attempts to “protect…elections from fraud” continue to ring hollow, however, as such fraud is incredibly rare. But in Maine, where city and town clerks monitor elections, fraud is even more uncommon. According to the ACLU, the state has had only two cases of voter fraud at the polls in the past four decades, and a recent study on Maine’s student voting fraud — one of the main problems cited by state Republicans — found that the “problem” didn’t actually exist.

“I don’t think, in the entire time I’ve been working the polls, I don’t think anyone has ever come in and claimed to be someone they weren’t,” Harlan Baker, an election clerk in Portland, told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes last week. “I’ve never witnessed it.”