AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine residents soon will be able to register to vote via a secure online portal.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signed a proposal passed by the Maine Legislature that proponents say will expand voting access. Democratic Rep. Teresa Pierce proposed the law, which goes into effect in November 2023.
Pierce said Friday that the new law will “modernize our voter registration system while prioritizing accessibility and security.”
“So many members of our communities will benefit from this, from aging Mainers to working parents to service members. To strengthen our democracy, we need to look at ways to improve voting access, not limit it,” Pierce said in a statement Friday. “Maine has long been a leader in voting and elections policy. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Legislature and to the governor for signing this measure to modernize our voter registration system while prioritizing accessibility and security.”
Critics of the proposal were concerned about the security of the system and ensuring that only eligible voters can register.
Patti Dubois, a representative from the Maine Town and City Clerks' Association said during an April public hearing that the group supports the bill, but wanted clarification on how voters will give their signatures, something clerks use often.
The law earned support from voting rights advocates and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who oversees the state’s elections.
“Offering a secure online voter registration portal is an important step in making the voting process more accessible to all Maine citizens,” Bellows said. “An online registration option would eliminate the challenges of accessing a physical voter registration card at the town office, and make it easier for clerks to manage updates to their voter rolls. In this day and age, people expect to be able to conduct business online and we are confident that today’s technology will allow us to implement this new option securely and effectively.”
The Maine Department of the Secretary of State will implement the new law.