Maine House Votes to Strengthen Protections for Election Workers


Secretary of State Shanna Belllows.

The Maine House of Representatives gave unaniamous initial approval of a bill to strengthen protection by adding threatening protections for election workers on Tuesday.

The bill, LD 1821, from Rep. Bruce White, (D-Waterville) will strengthen election worker protections by adding threatening an election official to election law as a CLASS D crime, as well as adding a reporting procedure for any threats election officials receive.  Addititionlly, the Secretary of State will provide de-escalation training to town and city clerks and registrars.

“Maine electins are some of the best run in the country and that’s true in no small part because of the hard work and dedication of our local election clerks,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.  “Protecting our town and city clerks from intimidation or violence protects our elections.”

In the last year, there has been a dramatic increase in documented threats against election officials all across the country.  In July, the FBI announced a new law enforcement task force to deal with threats against election workers.  In December, a national news organization, Reuters, conducted a nationwide investigation and identified 850 messages that met the level of threat that is a violation of federal law.  “You and your family will be killed slowly.”  “Watch your back.  I know where you sleep.  I see you sleeping.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.”  Here in Maine, the Secretary’s office received documented reports of at least two threats of physical violence against municipal clerks.

LD 1821 now goes to the Maine Senate for further votes.