Yes’ Vote on Question 1 Will Protect Voting Rights
BY RAMONA DU HOUX
September 8, 2011
The people’s veto to protect Election Day registration will be decided by voters on Nov.8. Maine’s Secretary of State today announced that Protect Maine Votes, a coalition of 18 diverse groups, has collected enough signatures to place the question on the ballot.
“More than a thousand volunteers worked tirelessly to protect a system that has worked well for more than 38 years,” said Mark Gray, campaign manager for Protect Maine Votes. “There’s no reason to change it.”
Protect Maine Votes submitted about 82,000 signatures to the Secretary of State on Aug. 8 and 9. Of those, just more than 70,000 were validated by town clerks. After review, 70,308 were confirmed by the Secretary of State. The campaign was required to submit at least 57,277 signatures.
The question reads: “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 maintain the current law, which has helped Maine to have one of the highest levels of voter participation in the country.
“During this tough economy, a lot of people in Maine have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet,” said Barbara McDade, president of the League of Women Voters of Maine. “Election Day registration makes it possible for many hardworking Mainers to participate. Voting is fundamental to our democracy. We shouldn’t create new ways to make participation harder.”
A broad coalition of groups began working to collect signatures early in July to repeal a law that eliminates Election Day registration. On July 6, the Secretary of State released the people’s veto question, allowing signature collection to begin. On July 8, a statewide kickoff was held, beginning an intense three-week effort to collect the required 57,277 signatures to place the peopl’’s veto on the ballot.
The deadline to submit signatures for the question to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot was Aug. 9.
Coalition members include: Engage Maine, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, Maine League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of Maine, Maine AFL-CIO, Maine League of Young Voters, Maine People’s Alliance, Opportunity Maine, Maine Equal Justice Partners, EqualityMaine, Maine Women’s Lobby, Maine Education Association, MSEA-SEIU, Speaking Up for Us, Disability Rights Center, Preble Street Resource Center, Homeless Voices for Justice and the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club.
For more information or to contribute to the campaign, visit http://www.protectmainevotes.com; on Twitter @ProtectMEVotes.