Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster should stop talking about stolen elections until he can prove it has actually happened.
Otherwise, it's starting to sound as if Webster simply doesn't want young people to vote.
A coalition of groups last week kicked off efforts to restore Maine's 38-year-old same-day voter registration law.
Despite a nearly total lack of solid information, the 125th Maine Legislature ended the long-standing practice of allowing people to register at the polls.
Some legislators argued that the decision was designed to relieve a burden on poll workers.
But the Maine Town & City Clerks' Association, the people in charge of running the state's elections and organizing workers on Election Day, did not share that concern, nor did they support that effort.
Which left people wondering if Webster and other Republicans had ulterior motives.
Those motives became clearer when Webster told the Portland Press Herald that Democrats have used same-day voter registration to "steal elections."
That's a strong accusation. Unfortunately, Webster has offered no evidence that it's true.
"I've witnessed busloads of people coming. I've seen it in Farmington," he recently told the Sun Journal.
Webster alleged that college students were flooding the polls and then voting again in their home states.
That would, of course, be illegal.
Which raises one question: When Webster saw this happening, why didn't he do anything about it?
There are election officials and poll watchers from both parties at polling places. Webster could have presented his concerns to any of those people.
The names and addresses of all voters are a matter of public record. Webster could have easily tracked down whether those hordes of unidentified voters were truly eligible to vote.
It is, of course, completely legal for college students to vote where they go to school. In fact, for years the U.S. has worked hard to encourage young people to exercise their right to vote.
The turnout rate for young people was higher in the 2008 presidential election, and exit polls did show young people more often favored Democrats over Republicans.
Even so, young people continued to vote at a much lower rate than their elders.
In 2008, younger citizens (18-24) had the lowest voting rate (49 percent), while older voters (45-64 and 65-plus) had the highest voting rates (69 percent and 70 percent, respectively).
The simple truth is that voter participation increases steadily with age.
Despite increased participation in the last election, young people were clearly under-represented in the final tally.
While the blogosphere is alive with speculation about double voting, cases of it actually happening are as scare as hen's teeth.
Webster recently told the Sun Journal he was gathering evidence showing voter fraud is a real problem, particularly in towns with college campuses.
That is, basically, an open admission that the Legislature acted without such evidence.
Anecdotes and gut-feelings are a bad basis for lawmaking, yet that is exactly what was used to outlaw same-day voting in Maine.
It is patently offensive to assume young people are more likely to cheat by double-voting than older people with camps in Maine or homes in Florida.
Unless Webster can produce his evidence before November, voters should re-instate same-day voting in Maine.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.