Sen. Luchini bill would establish presidential primaries in Maine

Posted: February 10, 2019 | Senator Luchini, Veterans and Legal Affairs

AUGUSTA — A bill submitted by Sen. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, would establish presidential primaries in Maine. The bill — LD 245, “An Act To Reestablish a Presidential Primary System in Maine” — received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

“Presidential primaries offer a more convenient and accessible voting experience,” said Sen. Luchini. “I believe primaries will significantly increase voter participation, strengthening our democracy.”

After numerous complaints from voters following the 2016 caucuses, the Legislature enacted presidential primaries, but because the law was not funded, it was automatically repealed. Sen. Luchini’s new bill would reestablish presidential primaries.

A number of individuals and groups spoke in favor of the bill. Ann Luther, a volunteer representing the League of Women Voters of Maine, explained that after completing a lengthy study, the organization decided that Maine should return to presidential primaries.

“Perhaps the greatest consideration in our position on presidential primaries is simply that the number of Mainers who participate in caucuses is far smaller — even in the years where the caucus seems overwhelmed by large numbers of voters — than the number who participate in primaries,” said Luther. “Primaries offer a much broader gauge of public support, and draw a more representative electorate, than party caucuses.”

LD 245 faces further action in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee as well as votes in the Maine House and Senate.