Because the freedom to vote is essential to a healthy democracy, I contacted Sen. Susan Collins, urging her to support the Freedom to Vote Act. I wrote, “I know you wholeheartedly embrace democratic values and represent a state that is in the forefront of ensuring Mainers can vote easily and safely. Your colleagues, Senator (Joe) Manchin, Senator (Angus) King and others crafted this compromise. This is the type of legislative work you are known for. Seeing a problem and working across party lines to have it remedied and enacted.”

The Freedom to Vote Act ensures all Americans have equal access to the ballot box. It establishes federal protections to counterbalance the hurdles placed on voters and would insulate election officials from undue partisan interference.

Recently, I received her reply. The senator conflated the earlier House bill with this new bill. She insisted these bills would mandate that Maine’s elections and election laws would have to change, implying for the worse. She pointed to Maine’s 78 percent voter turnout and wrote: “These results in Maine and across the country demonstrate that absent a compelling need, the federal government should not be pre-empting the election laws enacted by state representatives.”

The senator purposely ignored why we need this bill. Since the 2020 election, 19 states have restricted voter access, making voting more difficult and endangering our democracy further. How is that not a compelling need? On Wednesday, she voted to oppose federal action that would ensure all citizens vote as we do in Maine. It is so disappointing.

Jessica Simpson
Cape Elizabeth

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