The Maine Legislature continued its wrangling over a series of voting bills today when it took up LD 199, a bill that would require Maine voters to present an approved photo identification card to local voting clerks when casting ballots in state and municipal elections. Proponents of the bill say the policy is already in force in eight other states and will serve to discourage fraud in state balloting. But critics argue the measure will disenfrancise voters by discouraging participation in the election process.
For Democrats like Sen. Justin Alfond, of Portland, a bill to require a state-approved photo identification card in order to vote is a solution in search of a problem.
“There’s simply no evidence that voter ID requirement solves any real problems here in Maine,” he said. “People simply do not impersonate other people in order to vote.”
Alfond, the assistant Senate Democratic leader, led the party’s charge against the bill that other members of his party believe is being advanced at the behest of GOP state Chairman and Farmington plumber Charlie Webster and other Republicans on the theory that the policy will reduce Democratic votes at the polls.
In fact, state Sen. John Patrick, a Democrat from Rumford, asserted as much on the floor. “I believe this is the second of the voter suppression bills, probably fully supported by Charlie the plumber, along with the 83 Republican representatives and one tribal representative,” he said.
That remark brought a quick admonishment from GOP Senate President Kevin Raye. “The chair would advise the senator that he is skating very close to the edge with respect to questioning the motives of senators in support of this bill,” Raye said.
“Thank you for that Mr. President, and I will try not to skate any longer,” Patrick responded.
Full Article: Maine Senate Rejects Bill Requiring Photo ID to Vote.