To the Editor:
My parents drilled into us that the privilege of American citizenship comes with the duty to vote. Mom always said, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” There’s a bill in the Maine legislature now – LD 1126 – to start Online Voter Registration (OVR) here. Here’s why I support that.
The current system requires you to show up in person at a registration site during work hours. That makes it hard for a lot of people to register. Some of my friends own their own businesses. Some work the night shift. Some don’t want to drag a toddler down to the DMV. Some don’t have transportation. With an online system, eligible voters can register through a website designed by the Secretary of State’s office. Their data is encrypted and uploaded to the state voter file.
Online registration saves money. Estimates for implementing an OVR system run around $100,000 – much less than the current cost of printing, scanning and processing hundreds of thousands of registration forms every year.
Democracy requires all of us to do our part, and we need to simplify that process so every eligible Mainer can participate. OVR is a common-sense use of common technology. If you don’t have a computer, or prefer to register in person, you can still do that.
Let your legislators know you support online voter registration. It’s safe, it’s efficient, it saves the state money and it’s convenient. Forty-one states already use this system. Maine should, too.