Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It simply Isn't patriotic to disenfranchise citizens.

Published October 12, 2011, The Star Herald


Two major reasons are given for the new law in Maine that we must register to vote at least 3 business days prior to the election date:  to prevent voter fraud, and to alleviate a burden on town clerks.

In the Bangor Daily News, Eric Russell says that Charlie Smmers' investigation into voter fraud turned up only one case that would come close to fraud.  And America Goes to the Polls 2010 reports that Election Day Registration (EDR) actually reduces administrative costs and burdens.  Gathering signatures at the Maine Poato Blossom Festival Parade and elsewhere for the people's veto about the issue, we had a town manager and several town clerks sign, all of them voicing strong support for same-day registration.  [Since this was first published in The Star Herald, The Maine Municipal Association has endorsed the people's veto of the law.]

I have worked in a job too far outside my home town to get to town offices during regular business hours, as do many Maine people in rural areas who often work more than one job.  And I have been in voting situations considered suspicious by Summers.  I have several times been a student where I voted in districts outside my home state.  In all those cases, I was registered to vote in Maine and in another state in the same year.  I also may have been guilty of failing to register my car within 30 days of those moves; that does not make me guilty also of voter fraud.  What could Summers have meant by questioning the patriotism of such voting?

Our laws should encourage voting by making it as easy as possible.  According to Michael Cooper in the New York Times, EDR is responsible for "enrolling some 60,000 new voters in 2008."  The current law disenfranchises many and discourages participation for no good reason that has been supported with persuasive evidence.   Where is the patriotism in denying 60,000 citizens their vote?  

Please vote yes on Question 1 to protect EDR, and tell your legislators to stop wasting time and money on laws that fix no problem when we have pressing problems that need work.   




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