State of Elections

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Tag: Rachel Provencher

A redistricting light through the (pine) trees

by Rachel Provencher

As the weather cooled and the leaves started to color in Maine last fall, the state legislature was heating up in debate over the Republican and Democratic proposals to redraw the Pine Tree State’s district lines.

Democrats and Republicans worked hard in the summer and fall of 2011 to resolve different redistricting plans for the state of Maine.

The redistricting battle between Republicans and Democrats was likely the result of close congressional races in 2010, when both districts fell to Democrats. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who beat Republican challenger Dean Scontras by a 57-43 margin, holds Maine’s 1st district, and Representative Michael Michaud won by a 55-45 margin to take Maine’s 2nd district. In 2011, when Democrats and Republicans both proposed redistricting maps, the two plans showed significant differences. The Democratic plan presented little change to the existing map, while the Republican plan proposed shifting approximately 360,000 Mainers—one quarter of the state’s voters—between the two districts. The Republican plan also relocated Pingree’s hometown of North Haven into the middle of the 2nd district. Continue reading

Maine-iacs Mobilized: New Voter Registration Laws in Maine

After thirty-eight years, a sleeping (political) giant is now awake in the Pine Tree State. In June of 2011, the Maine State Legislature repealed the long-standing law permitting Mainers to register to vote on the same day as elections, and replaced it with a new law prohibiting same-day voter registration.

Pursuant to LD 1376, Maine now requires that all in-person registrations occur no later than the third business day prior to the election date. Maine’s departure from being one of the country’s eight states to offer same-day voter registration was not a landslide victory. In the House, seventy-two representatives voted in favor, while sixty-five were opposed and thirteen representatives were absent, and the Senate showed a similar divide with seventeen votes in favor, fourteen against, and four excused. The close divide in both the House and Senate illustrates the partisan divide over same-day registration which was ultimately passed under Maine’s Republican majority. Reportedly, only one House Republican and two Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to oppose the legislation. Continue reading

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