The press conference conducted July 25 by the chairman of the Maine Republican Party regarding alleged “voting fraud” was astonishing.

I do not know whether Charlie Webster simply does not understand our voting laws or just wants to win elections any way he can, but nearly everything he said was wrong.

The bulk of his argument was that kids paying out-of-state tuition were voting here, and that is fraud. The argument is 100 percent incorrect.

College students are allowed to vote in the state where they study. This is the law under a Texas case that was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court in 1979.

A college student does not need to qualify for in-state tuition before he of she is allowed to vote in our state. Whether you qualify for a discount given to a group of people that Maine defines as it pleases is not at all related to voting rights.

Maine could say that only persons living in Maine for at least 10 years would count as residents for in-state tuition purposes. This would not mean that only 10-year residents could vote.

This isn’t some complicated legal maze that few understand. All Webster needed to do was ask a town clerk in a college town and he would have had the facts.

Frankly, we should expect more from the chairman of one of the two major parties in this state. Webster should correct his misinformation publicly, thoroughly and immediately. If he does not, the media should hold him accountable.

I am in favor of vigorous debate, but it scares me to see one side lose all grounding in reality, ignore our laws and accuse people of crimes they did not commit.

Brett Gabor

A story in the July 17 Maine Sunday Telegram on the people’s veto of the same-day voter registration ban suggested that GOP Chairman Charlie Webster’s crusade against the 38-year-old law may be based on experiences of his town clerk in Farmington related to students at the college.

Webster has also claimed he knows of busloads of out-of-state voters being brought into Maine on Election Day by Democrats.

Well, someone should ask Charlie Webster if that is how he was first elected to the Maine Legislature, for he was elected as a Democrat.

Yes, that’s right — Charlie Webster, Mr. Republican, came to Augusta, defeating Republican Richard G. Morton. If Democrats were allegedly using such tactics then, did he include himself?

Actually, the answer seems to be that Webster was merely being opportunistic in running as a Democrat. That is the opinion of Gwil Roberts, a Farmington professor who served as a Democratic representative.

In an interview before his death, Roberts stated: “And I think Charlie figured this out, that he couldn’t beat him (Morton) in a Republican primary. And so Webster beat Dick for the seat.”

Getting rid of same-day registration has been a GOP dream ever since the law went on the books. It may well bring us back into the era, in my day, when Republican town clerks “lost” Democratic pre-Election Day registrations, leaving no chance for a person to vote, as happened in my town.

Neil Rolde

In regards to Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster’s “proof” of voter fraud:

I am a recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School. I received my bachelor of arts in political science in my “home” state of Indiana.

I paid a substantial amount of money to come to Maine to receive a fantastic education in my field of community planning and development.

We sold our home in Indiana, moved the entire family here, got Maine drivers’ licenses, registered our car and truck in Portland, and have filed Maine taxes as residents.

My partner and I were still required to pay out-of-state tuition because we did not work or live here at least one year before enrolling at USM. My family is what many would now consider permanent residents. And yes, my partner and I voted here the last two years.

We now live in Livermore Falls and will be registering our daughter to go school here, where she will eventually graduate.

I take offense at Mr. Webster’s accusations of voter fraud among out-of-state tuition students. Those of us who came here by choice and pay three times the tuition cost of residents should not be automatically accused of voting illegally.

D. Robin Beck
Livermore Falls 

I am disappointed that The Portland Press Herald and Maine news outlets on all levels chose to even run the Associated Press story about Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster finding 206 cases of college kids registered in other states (“GOP chairman claims 200 election fraud cases,” July 26). This coverage feeds into a paranoia that the Republican Party is trying to create.

I am all for reporting objectively and reporting both sides of an issue equally, and I am mad not so much because I don’t agree with the article, nor am I mad because I think it does harm to the campaign to repeal L.D. 1376.

I am mad because Webster hasn’t proven anything yet. This story should have been shelved until more evidence was revealed and we know exactly what he is talking about.

Thirty years ago, this would have never made it in any self-respecting newpaper. Webster’s own investigation has led to 206 names that may be registered in two different states.

The whole article is vague, and I see no evidence. What happened to the good old days when media used to be held accountable for what they reported as “news,” and when multiple sources, etc., were required? Total joke.

John Gagnon Jr.