AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives today passed LD 1463, “An Act To Create An Automatic Voter Registration System.” The legislation introduced by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon 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.
“We know that greater participation in our democracy will make our government more responsible and make elected officials more representative of the people we serve,” said Speaker Gideon. “Making that participation easier while improving the integrity and security of our elections is something we should all be able to support.
“An Automatic Voter Registration system will save Mainers’ time and our State money, and ensure every eligible Mainer’s right to participate fully in our democracy.”
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 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 Outdated information, e.g. old addresses, of registered voters will also be automatically updated.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.
LD 1463 garnered early bipartisan support with Democratic, Republican, and Independent cosponsors.
The bill now moves to the Senate.