The real story

OK. I confess. I drove the bus accused by Charlie Webster of transporting illegal voters to the Farmington polls. Want the real story?

In 2006, Farmington Democrats rented a van (not a bus) as an attention-grabber to remind college students to vote. We parked in front of the University of Maine at Farmington cafeteria with a sign saying, “Don’t forget to vote — free ride to the polls." Student housing is all within a 5-minute walk of the voting site. I assume most students walked because I only transported about a dozen students all day. We used the van as a traveling billboard to remind students to vote.

I don’t know how many students registered to vote on Election Day or how many were already registered, but the election clerk certified that students who voted were eligible.

Encouraging your potential constituency to vote is legal. It is also legal for college students to vote where they attend school.

As for students voting twice, I sincerely doubt it. It’s hard enough to get students to vote once.

More than 80 percent of UMF students are Maine residents, so voting in Farmington is voting in their home state.

Webster reminds me of Chicken Little, who was hit in the head by an acorn and ran around yelling that the sky was falling.

In short, “The Act to Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process” has nothing to do with preserving anything except a Republican win on Election Day.

Karen Schuler, Industry

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ERNEST LABBE's picture

I agree with you up to a point.

Yes every colllege student and every other person eligeble to vote should exercise their right. However why should out of towners or staters be voting on town or state issues? The don't pay town taxes. If I own property in Farmington but my residence is in Oxford I have to vote in Oxford. Why are they different? They can and should get absentee ballots from the place they really reside. Please explain this for us.

RONALD RIML's picture

"Paying of Taxes" is not a requirement for voting.

The 'poll tax' was declared unconstitutional many years ago.

Shane Cote's picture


Karen, please answer these questions for me. If only 80% of the student are Maine residents then why are the other 20% allowed to vote in Maine?

My biggest concern is that students, who are not from Farmington, are allowed to vote on local issues while here. Why should someone from anywhere other than Franklin County be allowed to vote for the Sheriff of Franklin County, or non-Farmington residents vote on expenditures made by the Town? What about our school budget, or any number of other local issues that the student body at UMF could sway the vote on. Most student are here for 4 years then they are gone leaving behind the result of their votes.

I have discussed this with many politically active people, both republican and democrat, and heard similar concerns, however no one has given me a clear answer on why they are allowed to vote here and not made to vote in their own home town via absentee ballott. I look forward to hearing your opinion.

Shane Cote


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