There is a flurry of election-related bills making their way (or not) through the Maine Legislature. Some of them aim to suppress voters’ rights and access, while others look to write into law the best practices learned from last year’s election cycle.

In 2020, a number of new procedures and helpful tools were implemented to respond to the surge in absentee voting and the challenges to safe and accessible elections due to the pandemic. The best of these practices should be codified going forward to lend consistency, uniformity and clarity to Maine’s voting practices statewide. Having one set of procedures and rules, implemented by the Secretary of State’s Office and our town clerks, would simplify and clarify voting processes, deadlines and resources for all Maine voters, regardless of where one lives in our state.

Whether instituting ballot drop boxes, ballot curing and tracking tools, or poll watcher eligibility rules, uniformity across the state would go a long way in combatting the misinformation and confusion we experienced last year. A uniform set of election laws should take into consideration the administrative and staffing realities of our towns while making voting as straightforward and accessible as possible.

In the current “voter beware” environment, such standardization would be a win-win for both voters and election workers. The less need for individual discretion and interpretation of election laws the better, especially when public trust in our current political system is in short supply.

Karen Tcheyan
Orrs Island, Harpswell