Matt Moonen

Matt Moonen

Representative

Why should you be Secretary of State?

I am an experienced activist and advocate for change. Prior to my service in the legislature, I was a leader in the effort to pass marriage equality, and worked on voting rights and campaign finance issues with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections.

In the legislature, I worked on a range of issues that are relevant to the job of Secretary of State:

In my first term I led the fight in the judiciary committee and on the House floor for important bills to protect the private information of Mainers; between the BMV and the Elections division, the Secretary of State's office holds a lot of private information and I would take maintaining the confidentiality of that information very seriously.

I've also worked on efforts to adapt the judicial branch to modern technology, helping the courts move from doing everything on paper to an electronic filing and electronic case management system. I also sponsored legislation to get the courts a text message notification system to remind people about their upcoming hearings. Studies from other states have shown this can reduce the failure to appear rate by as much as 50%, which can keep people out of jail. This experience would be useful in efforts to adapt the Secretary of State's office to modern technology.

I sponsored legislation that ended driver's license suspensions for failure to pay court fines, and would be excited to do more to reduce and eliminate the fines and fees that disproportionately affect people of color and poor people. And I would focus on re-examining our motor vehicle laws, far too many of which result in class E crimes for violations that have nothing to do with driving.

Outside of the legislature I serve as the Executive Director of EqualityMaine, the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. In that capacity I have led efforts to simplify the process for transgender and nonbinary folks to change their gender marker on their driver's license. My experience working with and advocating on behalf of marginalized people would be an asset as Secretary of State, as I would look for opportunities to make life a little bit easier for folks who are often overlooked, especially when it comes to ensuring their right to vote and their ability to drive and to obtain critical identity documents.

Finally, the next Secretary of State will have to do a lot more than just taking a position on legislation; they will be responsible for leading an entire department on the implementation of numerous laws and policies to benefit the people of Maine. My management and leadership experience - running a statewide nonprofit for five and half years, supervising a staff of 6, while at the same time managing the 14 staff in the House Democratic Office and leading a caucus of 89 for the last two years - has prepared me for this challenge.


Do you support the establishment of an online voter registration system in Maine?

Yes

Maine has often been a trailblazer on election reform and modernizing - ranked choice voting is a great example. Unfortunately we're one of the last 10 states that doesn't have online voter registration, and it's time that we catch up to the rest of the country on this.


Do you support Maine joining the Electronic Registration Information System (ERIC)? More information about ERIC can be found here: https://ericstates.org/

Yes

Maine would benefit from joining ERIC's efforts to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls. The reports they produce showing voters who have moved within a state, voters who have moved to a new state, voters who have died, duplicate registrations, and individuals who are potentially eligible to vote but are not yet registered could go a long way toward both engaging new voters and ensuring confidence in our systems by addressing and correcting our data regularly.


As a way to lower or eliminate barriers to voting, do you support providing pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots?

Yes

Voting is a fundamental right. Anything that adds a financial barrier could be construed as a poll tax, and other states have been sued over this. Maine should avoid this drama and make it as easy as possible for voters to exercise their rights.


Once the leader in voter turnout, Maine is losing ground to states like Colorado that have modernized and made continuous improvements to their election systems. How will you help modernize Maine's election systems to better meet the needs of voters?

I would support a range of improvements that could boost turnout, including online voter registration, prepaid postage for mail-in ballots, amending the state constitution to allow for true early voting, changing the postmark deadline to Election Day, making Election Day a holiday, and expanding use of ballot drop boxes. I'm sure there are more ideas, and I'd be open to anything that would increase participation in this critical civic duty.


What reforms do you think are needed, if any, at the Department of the Secretary of State and how will you include black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) voices in these decisions?

There needs to be a focus on adapting the entire department to modern technology, not just the elections division. In my conversations with BMV employees, their number one frustration has been how old and slow their technology is, which can make both the workers and the people they serve at BMV offices around the state incredibly frustrated.

As mentioned above, I would look at reforming our motor vehicle laws and driver's license policies to get them back to what they're supposed to be about: whether or not a person can drive safely on the roads. People should not face criminal penalties and/or losing their license (and thus their ability to work and provide for themselves and their families) for issues or offenses that have nothing to do with driving or their ability to drive safely.

As for ensuring black, indigenous, and people of color voices are included and heard, I would want to work with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations (and hopefully their staff if their budget request is successful) to examine the systems and processes with the Department of the Secretary of State and implement reforms. I have been so impressed with the work the Permanent Commission has done in their short tenure - they are already making a big impact on how the legislature approaches lawmaking - and would welcome the opportunity to expand their work across all of Maine government, not just the legislature.


Would you like to add anything else?

We are lucky to have a field of quality candidates. It has been an honor to work with all of them.