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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

This past year, the Maine Legislature implemented several pro-voter reforms during both the regular and special sessions. This comes after the state passed several major pieces of pro-voter legislation over the past few years. Because Maine continued to make progress, although slightly less substantial than previous years, the state received an A- on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Maine Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Partial AVR
  • Online Voter Registration: Yes
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: No Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: No Document Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Maine as of 2022, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 15th
  • EPI Score (2020):  33rd
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 8/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

After several years of instituting major election law changes, the Legislature continued to make pro-voter improvements during both the regular and special sessions this past year.

  • H 858 expands the deadline to register for an election via AVR to seven days before the election. The prior system paused registrations for an upcoming election starting 21 days before the election.
  • H 552 increases the list of allowable excuses to request an emergency absentee ballot.
  • H 252 establishes a task force to study the use of schools as polling sites.

Special Session:

  • S 677 allows all voters to join the permanent absentee list and receive ballots by mail. It also eliminates the authority for clerks to remove a voter from the permanent list for failing to vote in just a single general election.
  • H 1013 makes it a crime to block dropbox access and requires municipalities to maintain a clear path to all dropboxes.
  • LD 258, the state budget bill, included much-needed funding for additional full time staff within the secretary of state’s office.
  • S 809 extends the deadlines to implement both the state’s new online voter registration system OVR and permanent absentee list.