AUGUSTA – A new poll released by the Maine Heritage Policy Center shows a narrow majority of Mainers support the Republican-backed law passed in June to eliminate same-day voter registration. The law is the subject of a people’s veto on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The automated poll, which surveyed 500 likely Maine voters on Sept. 7, showed that 53 percent of respondents favor eliminating same-day registration and 47 percent want to keep it.

Among respondents who identified themselves as “moderate,” the issue was nearly evenly split, with 50 percent favoring the elimination of same-day voter registration and 49 percent opposing it.

About 72 percent of self-identified “conservatives” support ending same-day registration, while 71 percent of “liberals” oppose its repeal.

Conducted by Pulse Opinion Research using methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Supporters of the people’s veto effort, who hope to save the 38-year-old law allowing voters to register on the day of an election, have scheduled a news conference at the State House on Thursday to kick off their campaign. They collected more than 70,000 signatures from Maine voters in about a month to put the issue on the ballot.

Members of the Protect Maine Votes coalition will discuss key campaign messages and themes, according to a news release.

David Farmer, the group’s spokesman, dismissed the poll results.

“This is straight out of the policy center’s playbook,” he said. “If you look back at 2009, late in the election cycle, they touted a poll that they said showed TABOR up. Come Election Day, it lost by over 100,000 votes. This isn’t legitimate research trying to determine what voters think, this is an effort to persuade voters.”

TABOR was a referendum on a tax-cap initiative known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, an effort backed by the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

The question that will appear on the ballot 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?”

Those who support eliminating same-day registration say that giving clerks more time to scrutinize registrations will help prevent voter fraud. Those who oppose the new law say it will disenfranchise voters, especially the young, elderly and disabled. The law cannot take effect while the referendum is pending.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

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