Now that Maine voters have made clear their support for same-day voter registration, the focus shifts to another hot election-related proposal that will come up during the 2012 legislative session: voter ID. The bill requiring voters to show photo identification in order to cast ballots comes up after voters rejected by a 3-2 margin Tuesday another move to tighten the state’s election laws. That vote repealed a law requiring voters to register at least two days before an election. In doing so, voters reinstated Maine’s long-standing same-day registration policy.
“Legislators should move very cautiously in erecting any new barriers given this overwhelming vote,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Maine. Tuesday’s tally “absolutely indicates that voters resent barriers to our constitutional voting right,” she added.
But after a voter ID bill that passed the House failed in the Senate this year, lawmakers decided to carry it over to the session that starts in January. And Republican Gov. Paul LePage believes the issue needs to be revisited, notwithstanding Tuesday’s vote, said spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett.
GOP House Speaker Robert Nutting of Oakland does not believe Tuesday’s vote should have an impact on the voter ID bill, but it’s too early to tell whether it will, said spokesman Jim Cyr. The voter ID bill should be considered on its own merits, he added. Nutting expects the bill to have a full review.