Committee supports Sen. Beebe-Center bill to make local election information more available online

Posted: April 19, 2023 | Senator Beebe-Center

AUGUSTA — On Thursday, April 13, the Legislature’s Committee on State and Local Government voted in favor of a bill sponsored by Sen. Pinny Beebe-Center, D-Rockland. LD 577, “An Act to Increase Availability and Security of Election Information on Government Websites,” received a vote of 7-5.

“I am happy that my colleagues provided their support for this legislation,” said Sen. Beebe-Center. “The goal of this legislation is to help ease the burden on our municipal employees and create a system where local election information and results are available for everyone. As I said before, this is a matter of equity: All Maine voters should have the same access to voting results regardless of their town size or resources.”

The amended legislation requires the Secretary of State to provide a website or equivalent online platform for voters to access information on upcoming elections including local elections to the extent that municipalities provide that information to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State would also work with municipalities to increase security related to elections.

“Expanding our website to include information about local elections for Maine’s 500 municipalities would be a significant undertaking,” said Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “We know that there are about 176 municipalities who do not even have a website. The timing and nature of local elections depend on the municipality. Some municipalities use the town meeting format. Others may have multiple local races at times that differ from state and federal elections. Depending upon the municipality’s organization, they could have a city council, select board or board of assessors. Thus, we believe this is a worthwhile goal over the long term.”

LD 577 now faces votes in the Senate and House.