AUGUSTA – Five of the six Democratic Party candidates for Maine Secretary of State voted to reduce the power of Maine’s voters in Presidential elections in the last legislative session. The woman Democrats will nominate after a recent meeting of Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Shenna Bellows, was one of those five. Bellows had other controversial votes on election and voting issues as well.
The issue has not been lost on Eric Brakey, the long-shot Republican candidate for Secretary of State. Brakey pointed out this week that the position of Democrats to abolish the electoral college by joining a multi-state popular vote scheme would reduce the power of Maine’s voters in Presidential elections by almost half.
The issue arose in the first year of the most recent Maine Legislative session, with a bill designed to enter Maine into a compact that would have given all of Maine’s four electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote, even if that candidate did not win anything in Maine.
Brakey calls Bellows’ position radical and says the system was designed to ensure small states have a voice on the national stage. He says the attempt by Bellows and other Democrats to abolish the electoral college was wrong and as Secretary of State he would oppose future attempts.
As an example, Brakey says the position of abolishing the electoral college and giving away Maine’s voice and vote because our population is small is akin to saying that we shouldn’t have Senators in the United States Senate.
Maine’s Senators are 10 times more powerful in the U.S. than they would be based on population. Likewise, Maine’s power in the electoral college would be reduced from .74% of the total vote to .40% of the vote under the national popular vote scheme supported by Bellows and fellow Democrats.
Along with opposing the national popular vote scheme, Brakey says he would work to bolster election security and protect the privacy of Maine residents from federal intrusions through the Real ID program and other databases the Secretary of State’s office maintains.
In addition to voting to reduce the power of Maine voters in Presidential elections, Bellows was one of only three Senators to vote in opposition to two bills that would have ensured only United States citizens could vote in Maine’s elections.
Those bills arose after the city of Portland began considering allowing non-citizens to vote in their elections.
Bellows joined two Portland area Senators to vote against those safeguards in roll call #275.
Rather than electing Maine’s Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General and State Auditor in statewide elections, Maine’s lawmakers vote in a joint session of all 151 Representatives and 35 Senators to fill the posts.
After Bellows, the most controversial pick this year is outgoing Secretary of State Matt Dunlap running to be state auditor despite his lack of credentials under state law to fill the post. Ben Lombard, a Maine licensed CPA with 22 years of experience is running against Dunlap for that post. It is likely that Democrats will choose Dunlap to oversee the state’s finances, despite Lombard’s superior credentials to do so.