Thursday, February 25, 2021
Secretary Bellows testifies in support of U.S. House elections reform bill
AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows will testify today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration in support of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act” of 2021.
The bill, first introduced in the 116th U.S. Congress, will expand U.S. citizens’ access to the voting process and improve elections security, among other provisions.
Secretary Bellows, as the chief elections administrator for the State of Maine, is testifying during the 4 p.m. hearing in favor of expanding access to the voting process for all Americans:
“The passage of H.R. 1 is a watershed moment for American participation in our democracy,” said Secretary Bellows. “H.R. 1 is critical because it eliminates barriers and lifts up the voices of ordinary people in our democracy. It builds upon tried and true best practices already proven to work in states like Maine and across the country.”
Many aspects of elections administration are determined by each State’s government, resulting in significant variations from State to State. H.R. 1 proposes several requirements for elections nationwide, including several already in place in Maine, such as:
- Same-day voter registration
- Voting rights for all citizens, including people who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated
- Paper ballots with clear chains of custody
- “No-excuse” absentee voting
- Absentee voting at least 30 days prior to Election Day
- Online absentee ballot tracking
- Convenient and secure absentee ballot drop boxes
- A public financing system for state candidates (such as our Maine Clean Elections)
- Strong campaign finance disclosure requirements
Secretary Bellows notes that H.R. 1 also provides a forward-looking vision and the resources necessary for states to improve the accessibility and security of voting for every citizen, by pursuing implementation of reforms such as online and automatic voter registration, and risk-limiting election audits.
“Our experience in Maine demonstrates that many of the provisions in H.R. 1 will expand voter participation and improve representation in our democracy when implemented nationwide,” said Bellows.