A law requiring voters to enroll at least two days before an election was repealed Tuesday, restoring a four-decade policy of allowing registrations up to and including Election Day. Unofficial results showed the proposal to repeal the newly enacted requirement passed with 60 percent of the vote.
“This is a big day for the voters of Maine,” said David Farmer, spokesman for the Yes on One campaign. “They stood up for their rights to be heard. This tells us that Maine people won’t stand for people messing with their elections.”
The referendum was put on the ballot through a people’s veto initiative after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law in June requiring voters to register at least two business days before an election is held. That set aside a state law passed in 1973 that allows Election Day, or same-day, registrations.
The nonpartisan public policy organization Brennan Center for Justice at New York University saw the law as part of a trend across the nation to pass laws keeping millions of potential voters from casting ballots.
Tuesday’s vote in Maine “was certainly a reflection of popular opposition to these laws and the popularity of same-day registration,” the Brennan Center’s Wendy Weiser said. “Hopefully this will send a message to legislatures and administrators that voters don’t like their rights curtailed.”