Since 1972 Maine has allowed people to register to vote on Election Day and cast a ballot if they have proof of residency and some form of identification.

A bill making its way through the Maine Legislature, L.D. 1376, would prohibit same-day voter registration and eliminate voting rights we have had for almost 40 years!

Why would anyone propose to do this? Some have said that it is a burden for city and town clerks to process new registrations on Election Day, and that allowing people to register and vote the same day opens up the potential for fraud.

When the committee I serve on held the public hearing on L.D. 1376, we did not hear from clerks that there were any problems with the current voter registration law.

In fact, a lot more people now vote early by absentee ballot, leaving poll workers more time to process new registrations than they had in the past.

In terms of fraud, we only heard evidence of four cases since same-day voter registration was passed in 1972. Only two of these cases were prosecuted and neither one would have been prevented by L.D. 1376.

Maine has the third-highest voter turnout in the country. The two states with higher turnout also allow same-day registration.

Before allowing same-day registration in 1972, our turnout was 21st in the country. It is hard enough to get people to vote. Why make it more difficult?

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, if L.D. 1376 had been in effect during the 2008 presidential election, about 56,000 Mainers would not have been allowed to vote.

With another presidential election around the corner, it would be morally wrong to enact a law that would disenfranchise this many voters.

Whether you are Democrat, Republican, Green or independent, everyone has a right to vote.

I hope L.D. 1376 is defeated so we can protect this basic right for all Maine residents.

Rep. Ben Chipman

I-Portland

For more than 23 years I have been working as a state employee. Retirement benefits were part of the promises made the day I was first hired. Then substantial changes were made to our pension system in 1993. Now we are not even asked to sit at the table for discussion as more drastic changes and cuts are proposed in the governor’s budget plans.

Most of us who work for the state of Maine do not receive Social Security (or it is substantially reduced in some cases). The only retirement we have is our pension, while we see that costs are always increasing.

The governor’s budget would stop cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, for up to three more years, then limit them to no more than 2 percent per year down the road.

Our share of pension costs would go up by 2 percent. I have been paying 7.65 percent for my pension and 1.45 percent for Medicare, already 9.1 percent of my paycheck, and now it would jump to 11.1 percent without any increase in pay. So in effect, this would be a forced pay cut.

The state would pay 2 percent less toward our pensions, providing the biggest tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our state. These tactics are unfair, let alone unjust. We have paid our share and more.

As one example, we have accepted several years of no COLAs to help balance the budget.

Promises made regarding our retirement should not be broken again and again so others won’t have to pay estate taxes for properties worth a couple million dollars.

Our hands are tied, and that should not be the way state government treats its employees.

Winifred Malia

Scarborough

I was gratified that Gov. LePage’s change package to L.D. 1043 restored $2.5 million in funds to the Office of Substance Abuse.

I was disappointed when the OSA determined that these funds will not be allocated to reinstate funding for three of the 10 agencies that provide residential treatment programs, including Crossroads for Women.

This inexplicable action will severely affect the women of Maine. Crossroads for Women has been the provider of residential services for women and their children for more than 36 years, has been recognized repeatedly for its outstanding service, and has made treatment for substance abuse and mental co-occurring disorders available to hundreds of women.

The result has been positive outcomes for women, children and their families, and a decrease in the eventuality of homelessness, divided families and children in foster care — all costly to the individual, the local community and the state.

The full funding to the Office of Substance Abuse must be used to sustain these vital women’s residential programs. It is essential that the women and children of Maine have treatment programs available and accessible.

How can we abandon one of the most vulnerable segments of our population?

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

What do the following services have in common: mental health, homelessness, MaineCare, disability, children’s dental, foster care and child protection?

All are targeted for cuts. Each of these services is provided to people who live in poverty or who have no vote. The other 70 percent to 80 percent of the population will directly or indirectly receive a tax cut.

I am in that group. I don’t need it. I will not invest the small benefit in a new job that will generate new tax revenue that will provide dental care to a child of poverty. My benefit will not “trickle down” to benefit others.

Has our sense of community been so corrupted by personal greed or a failed economic philosophy that we are willing to put the lives of others at risk so that the rest of us can have more?

I am more than willing to have my taxes raised so that those with less can have more. I am my brother’s keeper.

Will H. Burrow

Gray

Kindness to WW II vet was deeply appreciated

Recently, while having dinner at a favorite restaurant, we were at a loss for words because of an act of kindness from a young couple.

My husband, a World War II Seabee veteran, has a favorite hat with “WWII Seabees 1st Bn” written on it.

After our meal, when we tried to pay, the cashier told us our check had already been paid and the customers who paid it said to say “thank you” to my husband. The young couple had seen his hat on the shelf.

We want to thank this young couple for this act of kindness and making two senior citizens feel so blessed.

Philip (Sr.) and Marion Sherman

Saco