Monday, April 5, 2021
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Bellows supports legislation to provide online voter registration portal

AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is testifying today in support of LD 1126, “An Act to Update the Voter Registration Process.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Teresa Pierce, proposes the establishment of a process to accept voter registration applications via an online portal.

“I am passionate about eliminating barriers to voter participation,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “Implementing online voter registration would be a major step forward in making it easier for Maine citizens to take part in their own governance.”

Rep. Pierce’s bill proposes a system that would confirm the applicant’s identity by requiring a driver's license or State ID card number, or the last 4 digits of the applicant's Social Security number. Applicants would have to consent to use of an electronic image of their signature. The online system would also allow established voters to change their name or address, or to enroll or withdraw from a political party.

“Our current system requires voters to obtain a voter registration card at the town office or a registration drive and return the card to the municipal clerk to register or update their registration,” said Secretary Bellows. “This physical process is cumbersome and can represent a barrier for many voters.

“People expect to be able to conduct business online, from responding to the U.S. Census to managing their bank account,” said Secretary Bellows. “The technology available today will allow us to implement this new option securely and effectively, making the voter registration process simpler for all Maine citizens.”

In addition to improving the process for voters, an online voter registration system will also help municipal clerks in their work, eliminating the challenges of transcription errors and illegible handwritten addresses while entering updates into the Central Voter Registration database.

The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs will hold  a public hearing on LD 1126 at 10 a.m. today.