As a Maine citizen, I am very proud of the engagement of our voters and their high rates of participation in elections, even in the most challenging of times. I believe we can further encourage and support Maine citizens’ engagement and participation by adopting an online voter registration system, proposed in recently introduced legislation.

In 2020, mailing times were slowed for a variety of reasons, delaying the processing of voter registration applications, and potentially disenfranchising those who wished to vote, especially first-time voters. Recent proposals to revamp the postal system would do little, if anything, to improve future mailing times. Online voter registration is a decades-proven system used in other states that streamlines the process of registration and eliminates the need for reliance on the overburdened postal system.

Online voter registration also reduces the opportunity for human error, using data validation to correct errors before submission, ensuring that only correct data are submitted to clerks and eliminating the need for manual data entry by clerks. Voter information would be encrypted, so private information would stay private. Additionally, the implementation of online voter registration would let the state forgo the cost of printing, scanning and processing voter registration forms each year.

Please contact your legislators to encourage their support for online voter registration. As other states are moving to restrict voter access, Maine can continue its leadership role in voter participation and engagement by implementing online voter registration to make registering easier for voters and officials while reducing costs and increasing data security at the same time.

Melissa Murphy

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