AUGUSTA — The Maine House voted largely along party lines Monday to reject two proposed constitutional amendments stipulating that only U.S. citizens can vote in state or local elections.

Opponents said the two proposals were unnecessary because state law already specifies that a person must be a U.S. citizen to vote in “any election” in a municipality in Maine. But after Portland officials briefly debated allowing legal non-citizens to vote in city elections, Republican lawmakers called for a constitutional amendment to more explicitly forbid non-citizen voting.

The House voted 79-53 and 80-52 to reject the two proposals. Both votes largely followed party lines, with a handful of Democrats joining the minority Republicans to support the measures.

The bills had sparked tense and emotional debate in a legislative committee last month.

Proposed constitutional amendments must receive two-thirds support in both chambers of the Legislature in order to be sent to voters for consideration. It takes an affirmative vote from the majority of voters statewide to amend the state constitution.


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