On Nov. 8, Mainers will have the opportunity, and the privilege, to cast their vote in the 2011 elections. This year, a very important question is on the ballot which will require a “yes” or “no” answer. I urge anyone reading this to please vote “yes.”

The issue at hand is Election Day voter registration, something our state has had for almost 40 years without any significant problems.

We have a great tradition in Maine of voter participation and involvement in local government.

Why not keep this vibrant tradition alive by continuing to permit our residents to both register and vote on Election Day?

Many Mainers have two or even three jobs. Without Election Day voter registration in place, they might find it quite a challenge to juggle their work schedules, register to vote on one day and then cast their vote on another.

Same-day voter registration is of paramount importance to older voters, too. It can help those with mobility issues or transportation concerns still have an opportunity to vote.

Traditionally, older Americans are the most active voters of any age group, and this is certainly true in Maine. We should be enabling voter participation in any way possible, not making it harder for our citizens to register and vote.

Right now our voter registration process is both simple and efficient. Let’s keep it that way.

Please vote “yes” on Question 1.

Dick Farnsworth

AARP Maine Executive Council


It is discouraging to see the letters to the editor by proponents of registering to vote at the polls that are filled with emotional supposition about people who might not be able to vote.

State Sen. Joseph Brannigan, who opposes the recent change to the law, claims that it might result in “disenfranchising thousands of Maine people.” This claim, along with several others that have been made, are simply ridiculous.

Very few people would actually be unable to vote. Brannigan raises the specter of people being too busy or not understanding the need to register to vote. That suggests a lack of responsibility, or perhaps a lack of the competence to vote intelligently.

Brannigan also claims that people might not be able to vote if they moved or changed their name, but this is not really true because they can vote by absentee ballot in the place where they are registered; any registered voter can easily vote by absentee ballot.

The only people who truly might not be able to vote are those who become old enough too close to Election Day. Of course, there are others who cannot vote because they were born a few days too late. Oh, well, life is not fair.

The problem of becoming old enough too close to Election Day could easily be fixed by modifying the law so that those few people could register before their birthday if they would be old enough on or before Election Day.

David W. Knudsen


I am a non-Mainer college student here in Maine. For the past three years, and into my fourth year now, I’ve lived at least nine (many times 10) months out of the year in Maine. I work in Maine. I spend my money in Maine. I am affected by the laws in Maine. So I vote in Maine.

College students frequently change residencies every year, making same-day voter registration a necessity in order to allow us to exercise our right to vote.

Registering to vote on the same day does not mean we are ignorant of the issues we are voting on. It does not mean we sporadically decided to vote one day, or that we are lazy, or that we are too thoughtless to plan ahead. It means that we, like many, have busy lives and cannot skip class or practice or meetings to go register.

Remember that polls on Election Day are open many more hours than City Hall is on a daily basis, allowing for a more flexible schedule. Same-day voter registration allows us to vote in the state that matters most to us.

While we may not be born and bred Mainers, we are Maine residents now, and that’s how I plan to stay — and that’s how I plan to vote.

Brigit Anderson


Discussion of same-day voter registration has been silent on the fact that some towns do not have full-time town clerks, though the town may be a true Maine municipality with a local polling place.

Maintaining that all of Maine’s eligible voters have 240 (plus or minus) days (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.) per year to register is disingenuous at best and mindfully ignorant at worst.

In Gilead, the town clerk’s hours are Tuesdays, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. That is two hours per week, or 104 hours per year.

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” and we cannot be deceived into thinking that what may be thought to be true in Augusta is true everywhere.

Sue Burnham

West Bethel

Secretary of State Charlie Summers took the fall for Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster’s witch hunt into rampant voter fraud, and bumped his head on the way down.

How else can you explain his insistence that Webster’s findings — essentially nothing — prove that “serious weaknesses” are leaving our current elections system (whatever that means) fragile and vulnerable?

How else could the Illinois native question the integrity and patriotism of students from out of state earning an education at the University of Maine and our other colleges and universities?

Maine law expressly states that the statute concerning residency “may not be construed to prevent a student at any institution of learning from qualifying as a voter in the municipality where the student resides while attending that institution.”

If Summers is genuinely concerned about electoral fraud, let him investigate whether the Legislature’s unilateral repeal of same-day registration, and this show-trial investigation, constitute an example of a Class C crime.

A person commits a Class C crime if that person: A. Knowingly causes a delay in the registration or enrollment of another — a college student, for instance.

As Republican President Benjamin Harrison once said, “The disfranchisement of a single legal elector by fraud or intimidation is a crime too grave to be regarded lightly.” How often do we have to repeat that lesson?

Lincoln Paine