The public’s voting rights are under attack here in Maine. The Republican-led Legislature voted to roll back voting rights by eliminating Election Day voter registration. People have been able to register to vote and vote on the same day for the past 38 years in Maine. There have been no cases of voter fraud associated with Election Day voter registration. Several town clerks have come out against this change in the law.
This past summer, a coalition of more than 20 groups came together to collect more than 70,000 signatures in a little more than three weeks. That petition effort is known as a people’s veto. Backers were able to get the issue on the November ballot for the people to decide.
Question 1 will read: “Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?” A yes vote will preserve the right to register to vote on Election Day. More than 50,000 people used that right in the 2008 election in Maine. More than 18,000 people used this right in 2010.
Many people don’t even know that they are not properly registered. Whether they recently moved into a different district within the same city or they inadvertently filled out their original paperwork incorrectly, they should still have the right to vote. That is a sacred democratic right that should not be denied.
Heidi Brooks, Lewiston