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Collins, King Split On Voting Rights Bill That's Stalled In Senate

Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins.
AP Photos
Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins.

Maine’s two U.S. senators have split over the controversial bill that would overhaul how elections are conducted and that has stalled in the Senate.

Sen. Susan Collins voted to block debate on the bill, joining with other Republicans who say the federal government should leave elections to the states, and not impose public financing, new disclosure rules and more options to cast a ballot.

The legislation "would take away the rights of people in each of the 50 states to determine which election rules work best for their citizens," Collins says.

Independent Sen. Angus King rejects the claim that the bill is designed to help elect Democrats. He says many of the provisions are already in Maine law and have helped the state to boast one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.

"It does establish a floor," he says. "It does say 'You can't do things that are designed to make it harder to vote in your state,' and it seems to me that that's what this is really about. I don’t see this as a partisan issue."

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.