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Newest Voter ID Bill Voted Down By Veterans And Legal Affairs Committee

It seems unlikely that Maine voters will have to provide an ID to vote, after a voter ID bill received an 8-5 "ought not to pass" vote in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.

Voter ID bills have been repeatedly introduced since 2011, and have never passed. This bill was opposed by the Maine Secretary of State's office, as well as groups including the League of Women Voters of Maine. Anna Kellar is executive director of that organization.

She rejects proponents' argument that voter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. Even the Heritage Foundation, which supports Voter ID laws, finds onlytwo documented cases in Maine.

“It simply isn't a threat that exists, but in states that do have photo ID, it's been proven that voters that have trouble getting photo ID end up getting disenfranchised, and photo ID laws have been struck down in a number of states for precisely those reasons,” Kellar says.

Opponents say voter ID laws disenfranchise eligible voters, especially poor people, older voters, and non-white voters.

“Over time the legislature has heard these arguments and seen all of the reasons for and against this bill, and are pretty confident that it's a bill that shouldn't pass this year, or ever. We shouldn't be requiring photo IDs from voters, when that means some people simply won't be able to vote who are eligible,” she says.

Rhode Island is the only state in New England that requests photo ID for voters.

This bill will now go to the full legislature for additional votes.

Correction: an original version of this post stated that the Heritage Foundation supported this bill. It supports voter ID laws in general.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.