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Election Denial in Maine

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 1 Election Denier has held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

  • 0 Election Deniers are sitting members of Congress.

  • 0 Election Deniers are running for Congress.

The landscape in Maine

Maine is proof that Election Deniers don’t have to control election oversight to cause havoc. As pro-democracy Secretary of State Shenna Bellows described, Election Deniers have swamped election officials’ offices across the state with frivolous litigation threats and floods of identical, conspiracy-backed records requests.

As Bellows told Maine Public, every hour that officials have to spend dealing with these sham requests is time they could be spending administering elections and improving voters’ election experience. Doing their jobs, in other words.

Maine has also faced down election denial from a prominent former official, even before the latest wave of Trump era election conspiracies. Former Governor Paul LePage, who was in office from 2011 to 2019 and ran unsuccessfully in 2022, has a long history of undermining the state’s election results during and after his tenure.

Meanwhile, Maine has recently taken steps to protect its election administrators. A law enacted in 2022 made it a crime to threaten an election official.

The Election Denier movement remains a force in the state’s Republican politics, though. In March 2024, Donald Trump won the Maine Republican presidential primary, part of a near-sweep of Super Tuesday nominating contests. Nikki Haley dropped out of the race one day later, making Trump the presumptive nominee.

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. The Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. In Maine, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers

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0 Election Deniers are sitting members of congress right now.

Election Deniers make up 0 percent of Maine’s 4-member Congressional delegation. Members of Congress have a public platform to build up or tear down trust in our elections. And they have concrete responsibilities, too, such as determining federal funding for elections.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers

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0 Election Deniers are running for congress in races we're tracking.

Here are the Election Deniers running in 2024 to represent Maine in the House or Senate who are advancing to November. Remember: For members of Congress elected this year, one of their first responsibilities will be voting on whether to certify the 2024 Presidential election.

Note: We are only tracking Election Deniers who have won their primaries and are advancing to the November general election. We are not tracking all Election Denier candidates ahead of state primaries. Click here to view Election Deniers who already hold seats in Congress right now.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers

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How Maine compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Maine compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in New England States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Maine, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.
  2. In New Hampshire, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.

1 Election Denier has held, or has run for, statewide Office since 2020.

Even one Election Denier with election oversight power is a threat to the will of the people. Here are the Election Deniers who have sought control over Maine elections in recent years.

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Headshot of Paul LePage
R
Paul LePage

Ran for Governor of Maine in 2022

Lost General
Election Denier
Election Denial Record What makes an Election Denier
  • Spread lies or promoted conspiracies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles in public, including in social media, press statements, or comments to the press.

  • Falsely claimed former President Trump won the 2020 presidential election instead of the legitimate winner, President Biden.

  • Refused to certify, or called on or pressured election officials to refuse to certify, the 2020 presidential election results or a race in subsequent elections based on meritless claims about election fraud, voter fraud, misinformation, or lies.

  • Taken action to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles, including:

    • Filing or supporting litigation seeking to overturn the results based on conspiracies or baseless legal theories.

    • Filing or supporting litigation that was sanctioned for being malicious or without merit in the aftermath of an election.

    • Promoting or participating in a Stop the Steal–sponsored or branded event or rally during or following the 2020 election.

    • Calling for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election or a race in subsequent elections after the results were certified, were officially audited, or stood up to multiple legal challenges.

  • Refused to concede a race, or publicly supported a candidate’s refusal to concede a race, after the results were officially audited or stood up to multiple legal challenges.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Maine elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in Maine Since 2016

#071B40
President
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Senator
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Governor
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Attorney General
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Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 71% voter turnout rate

  2. 2018 Midterm

    • Senator had a 60% voter turnout rate

    • Governor had a 60% voter turnout rate

  3. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 71% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 77% voter turnout rate

  4. 2022 Midterm

    • Governor had a 62% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” All told, in the 2023 legislative cycle, we identified 196 bills that were introduced in 39 states that would interfere with election administration. Ultimately, 21 of those bills became law across 15 states, while 7 bills were vetoed across 2 states.

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Maine by Category

As of November 15, 2023, 2 bills had been introduced or were under consideration in Maine. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

These bills show that the threat to elections in Maine, and all across the country, goes well beyond the ballot box.

  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.