Bills to tighten voter identification rules in Maine strongly opposed at hearings

2/16/2017

The bills, “An Act to Require Photo Identification to Vote” and “An Act to Protect Voting Integrity by Establishing Residency Verification Requirement for Purposes of Voting,” drew criticism from civil rights groups, top election officials, the state’s attorney general and everyday citizens. Also testifying against the bills were at least a dozen students from Bates College. The Lewiston school has been the target of ongoing criticism from conservatives in Maine, including Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has suggested that college students have been improperly or illegally voting in Maine elections. ...

President...Trump and others who have asserted widespread voter fraud have provided no proof of their claims, and top state election officials around the country, both Democrat and Republican, say their voting systems are sound and that fraud in the polling place is virtually nonexistent. ...

Those registering to vote for the first time in Maine are required to provide some proof of identification and residency, although a photo identification is not required. At least 34 states have residency and identification requirements for voting, according to a 2016 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, but only eight states have strict photo identification laws and most states allow voters to cast a provisional ballot if their residency or identification is in question.