A bill that threatened to reignite last year’s heated debate over voting rights appears to be heading to the legislative attic, at least for another year. Lawmakers on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday tabled a voter identification bill and expressed willingness to gut the proposal and replace its language with a resolve directing the Secretary of State Office to propose voter reform legislation next year. The initiative follows a report by Secretary of State Charlie Summers that suggests non-residents have voted in Maine elections.
The committee’s decision is still not final because of procedural matters that took place Wednesday. However, if the voter ID bill is indeed replaced with a resolve, it will mean lawmakers will avoid the partisan blow-up that took place last year when the Republican majority attempted to repeal Maine’s election day voter registration law.
The Legislature’s repeal came amid rejections from some Republicans, who initially voted against the measure but were eventually convinced by party leaders to support it. Several of those lawmakers, most in the state Senate, have since indicated that they would not support a voter ID law this year. That political reality could mean that Maine, at least for now, will avoid the debate over voter ID that has raged several other states, including New Hampshire.
Full Article: Lawmakers poised to gut Maine voter ID bill | Sun Journal.