AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s four members of the Electoral College cast their tallies for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry on Monday but not before making a call for national election reforms.

Samuel Shapiro, who presided over Maine’s delegates, read a statement calling for Election Day registration, a paper trail for ballots and early voting provisions – all already adopted in Maine.

The electors also called for a clean election system similar to Maine’s that allows public funding for candidates.

The electors – Shapiro, along with fellow Democratic activists Jill Duson and David Garrity of Portland, and Lu Bauer of Standish – said they felt confident that their four tallies for Kerry represented the will of Maine’s 1.3 million residents.

“But our four electoral votes are held meaningless if our sister states cannot hold elections that are fair, accurate and verifiable,” Bauer said after the brief ceremony at the State House.

Mainers set a state record for voter turnout in the Nov. 2 election, drawn to the polls by a close presidential election, referendums on tax reform and bear hunting, and a full slate of legislative candidates.

The secretary of state’s office said 73.8 percent of Maine’s voting-age population cast ballots in the election.

Official figures show Kerry won with 53.6 percent of the vote in Maine. The final numbers show the Massachusetts Democrat beat President Bush in the Nov. 2 election in Maine by 66,641 votes.

All four electoral votes went for Kerry since both congressional districts favored Kerry. Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that split their electoral votes by congressional districts.

Before the electors voted, Common Cause Maine, the Maine Citizen Leadership Fund and the Maine AFL-CIO held a State House news conference to call for similar reforms that were promoted by the electors themselves.

Uniform standards are needed on provisional votes and on the number of voting machines per registered voters, said Jon Bartholomew of the Maine citizen Leadership Fund in Portland.

Maine requires one voting machine per 200 registered voters. “If Ohio had that, you wouldn’t have had nine-hour waits to vote,” Bartholomew said.

The groups also called for voters to be allowed to register on Election Day, for a voter-verified paper trail and a national clean election system.

After the news conference, about 40 people gathered in the Maine House of Representatives for the brief ceremony that’s held every four years.

Maine’s electors represented a diverse group, with a Jewish member, an openly gay member, a black member and a citizen activist.

After they cast their tallies, the electors’ votes were collected in a long-handled, wooden ballot box, counted and certified.

AP-ES-12-13-04 1601EST



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