Tuesday June 26, 2012 | 06:51 PM

The Maine Democratic Party is accusing Republican Secretary of State and U.S. Senate nominee Charlie Summers of voter suppression because his office is running short of voter registration cards.

Party officials discovered the shortage when they went to the Secretary of State’s Office in the past week to ask for large numbers of the forms to use at voter registration drives, such as at fairs and festivals.

The office limited the numbers given out because it is phasing out the old form and running short on its supply. A new, slightly revised form will be printed within the next few weeks, according to a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office.

Democrats sent out a news release criticizing Summers on Monday and then complained about voter supression in a fundraising letter sent to supporters today. “Please give $50, $100, $250, $500 or whatever you can today to … send Charlie Summers packing,” it said.

Summers, who was elected by the Republican-led Legislature, responded today with a news release reminding voters that they can register to vote at their town office, local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office or Department of Health and Human Services offices. The release also said voters also can download the forms online at: http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/Documents.

Any requests for large batches of forms for registration drives will be filled as soon as possible, according to the release.

Megan Sanborn, Summers’ spokeswoman, said election officials decided the forms needed some minor updates, including clearer directions about providing past addresses. She also said the shortage should last only a few weeks and should not disrupt summer-time voter registration efforts.

Democrats, however, say they smell something fishy.

Summers supported last year’s failed effort to restrict same-day voter registration. He also investigated the Republican Party’s claims that college students and other were committing election fraud. Democrats said those efforts were attempts at voter suppression, and the cards may be more of the same.
 
“Either Summers is once again trying to limit Mainers access to the ballot or we have to seriously question his ability to manage the Secretary of State's office. We should never run out of voter registration cards in the middle of an election season," Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant said in Monday's release.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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