June 16, 2023
AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature advanced legislation this week sponsored by Rep. Tiffany Roberts, D-South Berwick, that would ensure ballot drop box locations throughout the state are safe and free of harassment and intimidation.
Existing law protects voters from intimidation and harassment when casting an absentee ballot in advance of Election Day at their municipal clerk’s office. As amended, LD 1568 would extend that same protection to voters casting their ballot at a secure ballot drop box. Any person who knowingly blocks or attempts to block access to a drop box would commit a Class E crime.
“Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and Maine voters deserve to know we are doing everything we can to protect them during the voting process,” said Roberts. “There have been reports of alleged intimidation occurring at absentee ballot drop boxes here and around the country, and we must make sure Mainers do not feel uncomfortable while exercising their right to vote.”
Concerns about voter intimidation and harassment have been on the rise over the last several election cycles. Following the 2022 midterm elections, the Arizona Secretary of State referred several complaints of alleged intimidation occurring at absentee ballot drop boxes to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The bill faces votes in the House and Senate.
Roberts is serving her third term representing House District 149, which includes portions of North and South Berwick. She serves as House chair of the Innovation, Development, Economics Advancement and Business Committee.