After initially supporting a measure to increase access to early voting in Maine, three Republican Senators have flipped their votes and defeated the bill.

“This is a common sense measure that would have helped people engage and participate in our democracy,” said Senator John Patrick of Rumford. “It’s disappointing some of our colleagues chose to put party politics ahead of one of the most fundamental rights as a U.S. citizen.”

The measure would have amended the Maine Constitution to allow for early voting in the days prior to an election and required two-thirds support upon enactment from both bodies in the Legislature.  It would have increased access to the ballot for many Mainers, was supported by the Secretary of State’s bipartisan Elections Commission, the Maine Municipal Association, and the town clerks who oversee elections.

 Last May, 24 senators voted for the bill, meeting the required two-thirds necessary to amend the Maine Constitution. In February, the Senate voted 21–14 in support of the measure when Senator Ed Youngblood, Senator Tom Saviello, and Senator Pat Flood flipped their votes and voted against the bill.

 Yesterday, the House passed the measure, LD 156, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Concerning Early Voting and Voting by Absentee Ballot,” in a 87-57 vote, but fell short of the two-thirds needed. The measure faces no further action.

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