Election politics is behind Sec. of State’s request to scrap voter photo ID bill
On January 30, 2012 At 10:00 am
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Ten days ago, Secretary of State Charlie Summers said noncitizens may have voted in Maine, and urged legislators to pass election reform
In an annual report to the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on the state’s Central Voter Registration system, Charlie Summers said his yearlong review of voter registration data was troubling. He conceded that most of the problems are related to human errors by municipal officials rather than intentional fraud, but said those errors have contributed to inaccurate and unreliable state voter data.
Two weeks ago, the Veterans Committee took up a bill that was carried over from the 1st Session, LD199, that would require voters to show a photo identification at the polls in order to receive a ballot.
At a work session on the bill on Wednesday, Summers asked the Committee to replace existing language in the bill:
Lawmakers on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday tabled a voter identification bill and expressed willingness to gut the proposal and replace its language with a resolve directing the Secretary of State’s Office to propose voter reform legislation next year.
The committee’s decision is not final, because of procedural matters that took place Wednesday. However, if the voter ID bill is indeed replaced with a resolve, it will mean lawmakers will avoid the partisan blow-up that took place last year when the Republican majority attempted to repeal Maine’s Election Day voter registration law.
This request led some to note that Summers already has the authority to perform such a study, without being required to do so by Legislature. Summers himself said so in his testimony before the committee while making his request – in fact, he said so twice:
So why would Summers, a Republican, ask for authority that he already has? Authority that he admits to having – twice?
So that his fellow Republicans could vote on a bill that they can point to that shows they are tough on voting reform.