November 1, 2012

Feud puts Maine poll-watchers under microscope

Democrats fear Republicans will use the tactic to suppress voting, but Republicans say both parties will be observing.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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This appeal for poll volunteers was sent by email from the Maine Republican Party to supporters.

Related Documents

Maine Republican Party's get-out-the-vote chart
Attached is the get-out-the-vote chart that the Maine Republican Party has distributed to supporters and volunteers. The "challenger" is responsible for monitoring new voter registrations and "questioning eligibility."


— U.S. Citizens age 18 and older and living in Maine can vote and register to vote on Election Day.

— A driver’s license, other photo identification and documentation that shows your residence (such as a utility bill) are recommended if you’re registering to vote on Election Day.

— You can still register and vote if you forget to bring identification. You’ll have to sign an affidavit swearing that you’re a Maine resident living in the community that you’re voting in.

— Still have questions? Call the ACLU at 774-5444 or the Maine Secretary of State at 624-7736

The Democratic rhetoric on intimidation plays into national reports of voter suppression efforts in states including Florida and Ohio.

"In other states, groups have shown up at the polls as a form of intimidation," Bellows said. "We haven't seen that in Maine, because every vote gets counted."

According to Maine election law, even ballots that are challenged count on Election Day. Challenged ballots are later reviewed by election officials to ensure that the registrations and ballots are legitimate.

Bellows said Maine laws discourage voter intimidation. Challengers must swear under oath that they have "personal knowledge" or a "reasonably supported belief" that someone is unqualified to register and vote.

"It is a crime to challenge a voter under false pretenses," Bellows said. "Nobody is allowed to simply go to a voting place and challenge somebody because they look a certain way."

Bellows said the ACLU of Maine will have lawyers at selected precincts to make sure voters are able to cast ballots.

"We're on hand to defend the right of any voter who feels that they've been challenged," she said. "Elections have worked very well for decades. We certainly hope that nothing is going to change this election."

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:



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