The Maine House rejected a bill Tuesday that would have required voters to present photo identification at their polling places in order to cast a ballot. Majority Democrats prevailed on a 76-67 vote that split mostly on party lines in rejecting L.D. 121, which required a voter provide proof of identity with a photographic identification, such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The bill will likely still receive a vote in the state Senate, but it appears all but dead for 2017 with the House’s rejection. Rep. Karl Ward, R- Holden, the bill’s primary sponsor, expressed frustration with Democrats via Facebook following the vote Tuesday. He wrote that the measure would have “prevented virtually all voter fraud in Maine,” and vowed to defeat Democrats at the polls in 2018.
Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage has also suggested that, without providing proof that voter fraud was widespread in Maine, while President Trump has charged that “millions” of unlawful ballots were cast in the 2016 presidential election, also without providing evidence.
Maine civil rights advocates, however, hailed the vote Tuesday, saying it rejects discrimination and protects voters’ constitutional right to polling place access.
“While President Trump, Gov. LePage and other elected officials have made false statements about voter fraud, proponents of such laws have failed to show that voter fraud is an actual problem, either in Maine or nationwide,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine said in a statement.