- Quinn Malter
Protecting Maine's Voters
The right to a secret ballot is fundamental to our democracy. Voters must have the ability to express their preferences freely if true representation can exist. But that freedom has come under attack in the past year.
In the wake of the 2020 election, states like Arizona, Texas, and Michigan were subjected to audits by partisan groups that gained access to ballots and voting machines in an effort to weed out “election fraud.” While these audits ultimately confirmed the results of the election, they still achieved their primary purpose: to sow distrust in our electoral system.
Now our legislators are taking steps to strengthen our elections and protect the rights of Maine’s voters. LD 1779, “An Act To Protect Election Integrity by Regulating Possession of Ballots and Voting Machines and Devices,” preserves ballots by requiring that they be in sealed containers in possession of municipal clerks. Ballots and voting equipment can only be moved at the direction of the Secretary of State. If for any reason these ballots need to be inspected, they must remain in the sole custody of the inspector, and the inspection must be supervised by a public official.
WATCH: Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on LD 1779
“The right to vote is fundamental to everything else that we care about,” Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows told us. “Full and fair participation by every citizen in our democracy is how we ensure that our elected officials represent the will of the people and the decisions they make are accountable to the people.
“The idea that ballots could be turned over to partisan entities who might alter the ballot, screen the ballot, try to trace the ballot back to individuals, or the machinery–the equipment, the tabulators that count the votes–could be compromised in any way, undermines democracy itself.”
Mainers for Working Families applauds Secretary Bellows and our leaders in Augusta for preserving our right to vote in free and fair elections. Maine is known for its strong voting rights protections and inclusive methods, including ranked-choice voting and no-excuse absentee ballots. LD 1779 would be one more way our democracy works by and for the people of Maine.