January 12, 2022

Pierce introduces proposal to protect election integrity


AUGUSTA – Rep. Teresa S. Pierce, D-Falmouth, introduced a measure Wednesday that would safeguard Maine’s elections against ballot and voting equipment interference.

“We are fortunate in Maine to have top notch elections officials and a very secure voting system, but other states have recently seen issues that compromised their voting systems and elections security,” said Pierce. “That has prompted us to take a thorough look at our elections laws and look for ways to prevent those issues from ever happening here. Our elections are the foundation of our democracy. Maine voters deserve to know we are doing everything we can to protect their votes.”

After the 2020 election, officials in Arizona and Colorado turned over voting machines and, in the case of Arizona, ballots to unauthorized individuals with partisan agendas. LD 1779 would prevent this from occurring in Maine by clarifying the chain of custody for both ballots and voting machines to ensure there is certainty regarding who may legally possess them.

“Maine elections are well-run with strict chains of custody for ballots. This bill further strengthens the chain of custody to guard against outside political interference in election administration,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who testified in support of the bill at Wednesday’s public hearing. “This bill is a safeguard against election subversion and will help prevent problems other states like Arizona have had where the integrity of ballots and equipment has been compromised.”

Pierce is a longtime champion of legislation to make Maine elections more accessible and secure. Last year, she sponsored a bill to allow eligible Mainers to register to vote using a secure online portal. It became law and is scheduled to take effect in November 2023.

The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee will hold a work session on the bill in the coming weeks.

Pierce is serving her fourth term in the Maine House, representing House District 44, part of Falmouth. She is House chair of the budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.