AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been saying the election is “rigged,” and that there may be a lot of voter fraud. Gov. Paul LePage echoed some of those comments Tuesday, telling a radio talk show that because Maine does not require a photo ID to vote, he doesn’t think the election will be legitimate.
Gov. LePage and many Republicans have supported the idea of requiring voter ID for several years. During his first year as governor, the Legislature — controlled by Republicans — debated voter ID but did not pass it. Instead, they ordered a study which did not endorse voter ID.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who oversees elections, said the issue is fine to debate, but that the governor was wrong to suggest Maine’s election results can’t be trusted.
With some exceptions, the state does require a photo ID when people first register to vote, but not when they actually cast their ballot. Some states do require voter ID.
LePage told WVOM-FM radio that photo IDs should be required to prevent voter fraud.
"You've got have photo ID when you cash a check, everywhere you go," LePage said. "So until we do that, I don’t think the election in Maine or the United States are legitimate."
Sec. of State Dunlap, a Democrat, said Maine's election system is as secure "as humanly possible," and called the governor's statement casting doubt on the integrity of the coming elections "irresponsible."
"And that’s my frustration here," Dunlap said. "We’re trying to encourage people to participate in the process. And when the chief executive of your state says the process has no legitimacy, then people not familiar with it are much more liable to say, 'I’m not going to bother, won't participate, not going to matter.'"
Former GOP Secretary of State Charlie Summers has supported voter ID in the past and said he still does. However, Summers told NEWS CENTER he has no worries about the integrity of the coming election.
LePage's press secretary said the governor's position on voter ID is not a new one, and that he has consistently supported the idea during his six years in office.
Dunlap said he and many legislators believe requiring voter ID would make it harder for elderly and poor people to vote.