November 15, 2012

Maine Republican chairman questions black voters

Charlie Webster's claim that hundreds of unknown black people voted in rural Maine towns causes a stir, and leads one GOP strategist to call for his immediate resignation.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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"But I see that as a good thing," Patrick said. "I'm not looking at these people with skepticism. But poor Charlie, this has been his mantra. I don't know why he wastes so much energy on it."

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said he wasn't surprised to hear Webster's comments.

"The only troubling thing is that Webster still believes in this garbage and that people still believe him," Grant said. "The issue of voter fraud has been thoroughly vetted. His party suffers this huge loss and his response is not to reflect or go quietly, but to continue with fear-mongering and blame."

Grant said his party received calls on Election Day about voting issues, but nothing that wasn't addressed by a quick call to the Secretary of State's Office.

Webster, a former lawmaker from Farmington who has said he will step down as party chairman when his term ends in December, has made similar claims in the past.

He has long complained that Maine elections are too loose and open to voter fraud.

Last year, he targeted college students when he alleged that more than 200 had voted in recent elections without establishing residency in the places where they voted.

The Secretary of State's Office reviewed Webster's allegations and found no instances of fraud.

Webster, however, remains unconvinced.

"I just think that the system, without some kind of ID or some kind of way to check, is fraught for abuse," he said Wednesday.

In the last legislative session, lawmakers considered, and rejected, a bill to require voters to show photo identification.

With Democrats now in the majority, it's unlikely that Maine voting laws will change in the next two years.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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