The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted Tuesday to block a bill that would require Maine voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. The House voted 82-66 to reject L.D. 197, sponsored by Sen. Ronald Collins, R-Wells, and backed by Republican leadership. Tuesday’s vote broke along party lines with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it. Last week the Republican-controlled Senate approved the proposal, 18-17. Two Republicans, Sens. Roger Katz, of Augusta, and Brian Langley, of Ellsworth, voted against the measure. Republicans have argued that a voter ID law will protect against voter fraud. Democrats countered that there has been little to no evidence of election fraud in Maine and that voter ID laws are political tools designed to suppress certain voters from participating in elections.
… Democrats said the proposal would be costly for the state to implement and a burden for disabled and elderly voters. Costs would stem from the issuing of voter cards. The state would have to provide the cards free of charge to avoid a constitutional prohibition against a poll tax.
A 2013 report commissioned by the Maine secretary of state estimated that photo ID would cost between $2 million and $6 million. The same report cited voting studies that showed voter ID laws may deter 10 percent of eligible voters from participating. The report recommended against implementing a voter ID law and said a bill doing so should exempt older voters.