A banner urging citizens to vote is displayed on the side of a street in Jackson Miss., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Credit: Wong Maye-E / AP

As they are in most states, Republican lawmakers in Maine are proposing that voters be required to show photo ID before they enter the polls. Critics of several bills before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee Wednesday said they aren’t necessary, and would only make it more difficult for Mainers to vote.

Currently 47 states are considering new requirements, such as photo ID, for voters. The sponsor of one bill in Maine, Republican Rep. Chris Johansen of Monticello, said that it is designed to stop voter fraud.

“Ensuring one citizen, one vote is a serious way to preserve the rights of all voting Americans, and that is the intent of this bill,” he says.

Opponents point out that there are very few cases of voter fraud on record in Maine and say requiring a photo ID could pose a hardship for voters, particularly those in rural areas who don’t have a driver’s license.

Others argue that the photo ID measure is unnecessary, as proof of identity is already required for voter registration.

“There isn’t any evidence that shows that these ID’s, particularly in Maine, are needed at that point of actually casting a vote because the process has already confirmed identity, confirmed residency,” Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.