October 6, 2011

Think tank study finds fraud risk in elections

A review of records reveals flaws in voter tracking, and late registrations add to the vulnerability, an official says.

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

(Continued from page 1)

He said people who may have difficulty getting to the polls can still register and vote on the same day -- by absentee ballot. It just can't be during the two business days before an election, or on Election Day.

Farmer said that's not good enough, because some town offices are open only a couple of days a week or by appointment.

"It's not easy, necessarily, to get to a clerk's office," he said. "But on Election Day, they're all open and they all have to be open until 8 p.m."

According to reports filed with the state ethics commission on Wednesday, the Maine Heritage Policy Center has spent about $4,500 in general treasury transfers opposing the people's veto. The group did not list any donations raised specifically to oppose it.

A handful of groups supporting the people's veto -- from the Maine Democratic Party to the Washington, D.C.-based AFL-CIO to the Yes on 1 coalition -- have raised about $308,000, according to reports. They have spent about $184,000.

Most of the money was spent to pay people to manage this summer's signature-gathering campaign to put the question on the ballot, and for a poll.

The AFL-CIO spent about $11,000 of its general treasury money in support of the campaign, according to the report.

Major donors supporting Yes on 1 include S. Donald Sussman, the hedge fund manager and husband of Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, with his donation of $100,000; former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rosa Scarcelli, who donated $5,000; and state Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, who donated $5,000.

These groups made cash donations of $5,000: American Civil Liberties Union of Maine; AARP of Washington, D.C.; the Maine People's Alliance; the League of Women Voters of Maine; and the Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund.

The Maine Education Association donated $20,000.

Most of the groups also made in-kind donations, largely paid staff time, totaling about $80,000 to the Yes on 1 effort, according to the reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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

rmetzler@mainetoday.com

 

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