An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Activities at or near the Polls on Election Day
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §662, sub-§4, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §57, is repealed.
Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §672, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §30, is further amended to read:
§ 672. Assistance
A voter who is unable to read or mark the ballot because of physical disability, illiteracy or religious faith may request another person, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union, to assist the voter in reading the ballot or marking the ballot according to the voter's wishes. When assisting a voter, the aide may not tell the voter how to make the voter's choices or otherwise influence the voter in violation of section 682 683.
Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §681, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2015, c. 422, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §682, as amended by PL 2019, c. 371, §§21 and 22, is repealed.
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §683 is enacted to read:
§ 683. Restricted activities on election day
(1) The instruction of a voter in the method of marking the ballot, except as provided in section 672;
(2) The display or distribution of any advertising material or operation of any advertising medium, including a sound amplification device or an audio feature on any mobile telephone or other handheld electronic device. For purposes of this subparagraph, "sound amplification device" includes, but is not limited to, sound trucks, loudspeakers and blowhorns;
(3) The display or distribution of campaign literature, posters, palm cards, buttons, badges or stickers;
(4) The solicitation or acceptance of contributions for a campaign as defined in section 1052, subsection 1 or for the purpose of qualifying a Maine Clean Election Act candidate pursuant to section 1125;
(5) The collection of signatures on nominating petitions; or
(6) Communication orally or in written form with voters in a manner that expresses support for or opposition to a party, a candidate or a question.
(1) The display of advertising material on an automobile transporting a voter to or from the voting place for the purpose of voting;
(2) The wearing of clothing, a campaign button or a hat that displays the name of a candidate or an advertising or campaign message by a voter who is at the polls solely for the purpose of voting, as long as the message does not expressly advocate for the passage or defeat of any question or election or defeat of any candidate for an office that is on the ballot for the election that day;
(3) Exit polling, except that a person conducting a poll may not approach or communicate orally with any voter until after the voter has voted; and
(4) The greeting of voters by a candidate, or no more than one representative of a candidate, as long as the candidate or candidate's representative remains outside the access corridor described in subsection 1 and does not state the name of the office the candidate is seeking in that election year or wear any button, name tag or apparel displaying the candidate's name or the name of the office sought or otherwise express support for or opposition to a party, a candidate or a question.
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §753-B, sub-§5, as repealed and replaced by PL 2019, c. 371, §35, is amended to read:
This bill repeals provisions of law governing signature gathering and other activities at polling places on election day and enacts provisions in their place. It requires a 6-foot-wide access corridor from the entrance to the polling place to the guardrail enclosure where voting takes place that must be kept open at all times for the sole purpose of allowing voters to pass through. It designates a wider campaign-free zone of up to 150 feet outside the entrance to the voting place where activities on public property relating to any campaign for a candidate or ballot question in that election year are restricted. The bill clarifies those restrictions. Collecting signatures on petitions for direct initiatives, people's veto referenda and municipal referenda may be permitted by the election warden inside the voting place and within the 150-foot zone but outside the 6-foot-wide access corridor, to the extent space allows. The bill removes the provision making any violation of the laws governing political activities at the polling place a Class E crime. It directs the Secretary of State to issue guidelines to assist local election officials, candidates, campaigns and the public in interpreting and applying these restrictions.