Voting Mistake Gives Sports Betting Legalization a Prayer in Maine

A Maine state senator is believed to have mistakingly voted to overturn Maine Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of a sports betting bill, giving legalization one final chance at becoming a reality.

All along, Senator Lisa Keim had opposed sports betting legalization, but she voted last Thursday to reject the governor’s veto of the bill. The flip of Keim’s vote means that the state senate received the supermajority it needed to trigger a similar vote in the House on Tuesday.

Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, told WVOM Radio on Monday that he believed there were 14 votes to support the governor’s veto, when there only needed to be 11. But bad weather on Thursday compromised that number and then there was confusion over the vote itself.

“Veto votes are tricky,” Conley said. “A ‘Yes’ means a no and a ‘No’ means a yes.”

How was it that Keim voted incorrectly?

Video reviewed by The Action Network show that Sen. Stacey Guerin, a staunch opponent to sports betting and a colleague Keim was expected to vote alongside, first entered a “yay” vote to overturn the governor’s veto. This vote was presumably entered by mistake.

Right as Guerin changed her vote to “nay,” Keim entered her affirmative vote, likely because she saw her colleague’s initial choice.

By the time Keim noticed that Guerin had changed her vote from “yay” to “nay,” it was too late for her to switch: Eight seconds after Keim made her selection, the chair ended the vote.

A call placed to Keim by The Action Network was not immediately returned.

The Maine legislature voted to pass in-person and mobile sports betting legislation this summer and only needed Gov. Mills’ signature to make it officially legal. But she officially vetoed the bill on Jan. 10, putting in motion this last-ditch effort in the legislature that was furthered by Keim accidental vote.

Should the House affirmatively override Mills’ veto on Tuesday, Maine would officially become the 21st state to legalize sports betting.

If the House chooses to support the governor’s veto, Maine won’t have another chance at sports betting this year.

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