Court Hears Challenge To Maine Election Laws

Sep 21, 2020

Arguments are being heard today in a lawsuit challenging parts of Maine’s election system.

The plaintiffs argue that the provisions may disenfranchise Mainers who want to vote by absentee ballot, at a time when people are encouraged to vote from home due to COVID-19.

Among the provisions being challenged in Kennebec County Superior Court is that ballots must be received by Election Day to be counted.

“And this is in conjunction with massive cost cuts to the U.S. Postal Service that the Maine AG’s office has actually joined other states in challenging,” says ACLU of Maine Legal Director Emma Bond. "Nobody should have to choose their fundamental right to vote and their health during a pandemic."

The ACLU, which has filed briefs in support of the lawsuit, wants ballots accepted if they are postmarked by Election Day.

Another challenged provision requires copies of identifying documents be submitted by people registering to vote for the first time. And there are concerns about voters paying postage to mail in an absentee ballot, something critics say amounts to a poll tax.

The complaint contends that the surge in absentee ballots seen during the July primaries should be expected to accelerate for the upcoming November election.