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Maine House Democrats unite to vote against bill to ban non-citizen voting

Center: Speaker of the House Sara Gideon led House Democrats in voting against the bill to ban non-citizen voting in Maine. To her right, Rep. Ryan Fecteau, and her left, Rep. Matt Moonen, also voted against the bill.

AUGUSTA – There have been a lot of bills in Maine’s current legislative session related to voting. A number of those bills, including allowing a bill to create automatic voter registration, have won the support of a strong number of Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives. Today, however, Democrats voted overwhelmingly against a bill that would have forbidden non-citizens from voting in all elections in Maine.

The bill arises partly from the efforts of Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling pushing to allow non-citizens to vote in his city. The issue actually goes back years, with then-Attorney General Janet Mills giving a legislative committee a green light on a bill to officially allow non-citizen voting in municipal elections, saying nothing in Maine’s Constitution forbids it.

Because of those concerns, and a strong belief that elected officials should protect the votes of U.S. Citizens, Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham introduced L.D. 816, which would ask the people of Maine to vote on an amendment to Maine’s Constitution to officially forbid non-citizen from voting.

That bill, L.D. 186, was voted on today in the Maine House and failed on a mostly party line vote, 80-52.

READ MORE: Faulkingham introduces bill to amend Maine Constitution to ensure only U.S. Citizens vote in Maine elections

Only three Democrats, Jessica Fay of Raymond, Henry Ingwerson of Arundel and Daniel Hobbs of Wells, joined Republicans to vote in favor of forbidding non-citizen voting.

The issue has been persistent in the Portland political scene, with Mayor Strimling recently even suggesting that Portland could spur the entire state of Maine to allow non-citizens to vote in the same manner that city has led on other policies where the state followed.

READ MORE: Strimling calls for non-citizen voting in Portland while highlighting Portland policies that went statewide

Rep. Faulkingham’s bill has nine cosponsors in addition to himself. All nine are Republicans, including both House Republican leaders, Rep. Kathleen Dillingham and Rep. Trey Stewart.

All three members of House Democratic leadership voted to kill the bill, led by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon of Freeport.

It will now go on to the Maine Senate for consideration.

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