Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Maine to defend voter privacy law before First Circuit Thursday

AUGUSTA — On Thursday, Oct. 5, the First Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in a case where a Virginia-based nonprofit, Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) will argue that a 2021 Maine law which prevents online doxing of Maine voters should not apply to their activities.

“Voter privacy is foundational to the freedom to vote in accordance with your beliefs, free of interference,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “Maine has long enjoyed the distinction of leading the nation in voter turnout, and we are proud of our longstanding commitment to voter freedom and privacy. Unfortunately, this lawsuit could change all that.”

Maine previously prohibited disclosure of the voter file to any entities other than campaigns. In 2021, the Maine State Legislature updated state law to permit disclosure for purposes of enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act with strict safeguards to prohibit dissemination of private voter information online.

“Mainers should be able to register to vote without fear that someone will post their sensitive personal information online,” said Secretary Bellows. “In this era of identity theft and online harassment, protecting individual sensitive information is more important than ever. Once your personal information is published online, it’s often too late to prevent harm to individual reputation and safety.”

The oral arguments will be held in the morning of Oct. 5, 2023 at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston, MA.