The proposal comes as the city of Portland considers granting non-citizens access to the ballot box in local elections
AUGUSTA – State Rep. William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham (R – Winter Harbor) wants to amend the Maine Constitution to ensure only United States citizens are permitted to vote in state, county and local elections in Maine and he has proposed a measure in the Maine Legislature to do just that.
The issue surged into view again last year as the city of
Portland considered granting non-citizens in the city the ability to vote. The
issue has not gone away in Portland, as city leaders consider how to move
forward in support of the measure.
Previously, efforts to approve non-citizen voting failed in a citywide referendum in Portland, but in an opinion given to the Maine Legislature when she was Attorney General, Janet Mills gave the green light to a bill that would have allowed non-citizen voting. Mills claimed that the Maine Constitution does not prohibit people who are not United States citizens from the voting booth.
“This bill may seem like common sense to many of you,” said Rep. Faulkingham on Facebook. “Already here in Maine in places like Portland, Mayor Ethan Strimling has proposed letting non-citizens vote in our elections. I believe it is a pretty low, and acceptable threshold for voting, that first you are at least a citizen of the United States.”
Rep. Faulkingham says his proposal quickly garnered the maximum number of cosponsors allowed, including both House Minority Leader Rep. Kathleen Dillingham and Assistant Minority Leader Trey Stewart, along with Senator Stacey Guerin serving as the bill’s lead cosponsor.
Other cosponsors include Rep. Jeff Hanley, Rep. Scott Strom, Rep. Joel Stetkis, Rep. Beth O’Connor, Rep. Roger Reed and Rep. Justin Fecteau.
The bill, LD 186, is titled “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Specify the Qualifications of Electors” and it was referred to the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs on Thursday, January 17.