Maine has a great legacy of voter turnout, including having the highest turnout rates in the 2010 election. Maine voters have enjoyed the opportunity to register to vote on Election Day for 38 years.

Turnout rates are 10-12 percentage points higher than the national average in states with same day registration. The fact is that Election Day registration lowers barriers to voter participation. It is good policy.

We’re good, right? Unfortunately, no. The Maine Legislature just passed L.D. 1376, which prohibits registering to vote on Election Day and prohibits absentee voting within two days prior to Election Day.

According to Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers’ recent Press Herald column, the law will “reduce the stress on municipal clerks.” This rationale is an inadequate justification for the new law.

In fact, the Maine Town and City Clerks Association does not support the law. Association President Patti Dubois stated that the law will disenfranchise some voters. In 2008, 50,000 voters registered on Election Day.

Three groups in particular benefit from avoiding a second trip to town hall: the disabled, youth and elders.

People benefit from voting in ways beyond civic involvement. Studies link political involvement with better psychological health, as people feel more empowered. People who are disadvantaged by income, health or are socially marginalized especially benefit.

Political involvement should be encouraged, not made more difficult by roadblocks. Maine is a very special place in which to live, work and participate in the democratic process.

Gov. LePage said he will sign the new law. However, Maine citizens should tell the governor that we want to maintain our proud record of voter participation even at the cost of a few clerks being stressed on the most important political day of the year.

Destry Oldham-Sibley

South Portland

It is a sad day for the state of Maine when the government in Augusta has nothing better to do than to make the ability to vote more difficult for the people.

I have been a deputy registrar for the city of Portland for many years and was proud to be able to help people to fulfill their civic duty by helping them to register to vote.

Susanne Willard


While I enjoy reading other people’s opinions, at times the rhetoric is disturbing. For example, there was a recent letter expressing concern over barring registration on Election Day.

Elections come with numbing regularity, so why does anyone find it necessary to wait until Election Day to register? If you are a very old person, why haven’t you voted before?

Methinks if one is “very old” and has never voted, it’s because no interest exists, otherwise the thought of registering to vote would have previously arisen.

At times the governor’s actions are contrary to my beliefs, but that’s the job description: Have a vision, sell it and, if elected, carry it forward if possible. That’s how the system works. If one doesn’t like things now, then a push for legislative action for change is required.

If Equality Maine says it is terrified of the future, great! It is doing its job. All organizations need to scream at every turn of events. It’s their job.

Otherwise, how can they get you to part with money to support them? They’re businesses. They need money to operate. Does anyone believe that its executive director works for nothing?

As to the governor’s behavior, well, what you see is what you get. If it is not to your liking, vote for change come next election. But, in the meantime, remember: The governor does not make law. The legislators do. He can neither allow nor prevent same-day registration; neither punish nor reward state workers. The legislators do.

So develop a relationship with your representative — even one who’s on “the other side.” Votes talk and legislators listen. But don’t blame the governor.

The governor can ignore criticism and bull ahead, but in the end, the legislation he signs or vetoes comes from the legislators.

Go after them — then perhaps you can see your heart’s desire come to pass.

Michael Torrusio Jr.


Repealing Election Day voter registration was a mistake. Letting people register on Election Day boosted voter turnout, and was a source of pride for Maine nationally, as we have been among the states with the highest turnout recently.

It’s regrettable that most of the elected Republicans in Augusta don’t share that pride, that they appear to only have fear of others, such as the 60,000 Maine voters who registered on the same day in 2008.

Voter fraud hasn’t been found to be a justifiable reason. If we promote citizenship in schools, why wouldn’t we want to continue making it as easy as possible for people to vote?

I hope that this is reversed by whatever means necessary, as quickly as possible.

Doug Beasley


Please give Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland the credit she deserves for breaking with her Republican colleagues to vote against L.D. 1376, the bill that eliminated Election Day voter registration. I am sorry voters will lose the convenience of that form of registration, something which has worked so well for Maine citizens for 38 years.

I, for one, am grateful there is one thoughtful and independent Republican representative in Augusta.

Chris McDuffie

North Yarmouth

Regarding the bill banning Election Day voter registration: When we Democrats are not competent enough to pass legislation when we control both branches of the Legislature and the executive office (at the state and the federal levels), how can we ever be competent enough to bus in illegal voters?

Rob Stevens


Lawyers say the darndest things about their clients

I am not a lawyer but I work and interact with them on a daily basis.

I am not familiar with the curriculum of law school but I am starting to believe it contains a class titled “Spin 101,” and I am not talking about riding a stationary bike.

In a recent Press Herald story about a naked gentleman driving his truck into a residence, I was more than a little amused by how quick and to what extent his lawyer went to put a spin on the events.

Referring to the accident, the lawyer stated his client recently purchased the truck and lacked familiarity with it. I too have found myself behind the wheel of unfamilair vehicles but am emboldened by the fact the brake pedal is always in the same location.

The best spin came when the lawyer attempted to explain his client’s attire, or lack thereof.

I can foresee occasions when one would have to depart their residence in a hurry due to a perceived emegency but most would at least take the time to put on some pants.

I recognize lawyers are paid to advocate and defend their clients, but their credibility takes a dip when case after case they jump to get out in front of an adverse event with the lessons learned in their spin class.

I would actually volunteer to be on this jury just to hear this argument in court. I shouldn’t be too critical in this case, however. I at least started the day with a good laugh.

Steven Edmondson



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