LD 1463,  “An Act To Create An Automatic Voter Registration System,” is Co-Sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats in the Maine Legislature

AUGUSTA –  Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) today introduced LD 1463,  “An Act To Create An Automatic Voter Registration System.” The legislation creates a process that would automatically register eligible Mainers to vote when they interact with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or another approved state agency where they already provide proof of eligibility for voter registration.

Speaker Gideon released the following statement:

“This bill is a common-sense way to improve and modernize our state’s voter registration system, and I’m happy to say that it has the support of both Democrats and Republicans. An Automatic Voter Registration system will save Mainers’ time and money and ensure that every eligible Mainer has the opportunity to cast their vote. That’s something all of us can get behind.”

The legislation will allow eligible Mainers to be registered to vote when they interact with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or another approved state agency where they provide proof of eligibility for voter registration—including name, address, citizenship status, and signature. For an eligible voter, this information would be automatically added to the Central Voter Registration file. Election officials will then make available an option for the voter to enroll with a party or to decline registration altogether. Outdated information, e.g. old addresses, of registered voters will also be automatically updated.

Voters can still register with a voter registration card at their town hall if they prefer, and registration would not become mandatory. If an eligible Mainer does not wish to register and have their information on the voter rolls, they will be provided the opportunity to decline registration.

Maine would be the 19th state to adopt an  Automatic Voter Registration system. Oregon became the first in 2015, and that  effort is widely considered a success. The state was  able to update the address information for 570,000 voters. Since then, 17 other states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws.

LD 1463 has garnered early bipartisan support with Democratic, Republican and Independent cosponsors.

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