Doonesbury © 2012 G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster says he doesn’t know who Doonesbury is. But Doonesbury, or at least its author, Garry Trudeau, knows about Webster and his attempt to tighten voter registration laws.

Trudeau, who has recently waded into the ongoing debate over voter ID laws, mentioned Webster on Friday in the second frame of his nationally syndicated comic strip, along with the chairman’s infamous quote that Democrats had long used Maine’s 1973 Election Day voter registration law to “steal elections.” 

Voters in November overturned a Republican-initiated effort to repeal the law that allows Electon Day registrations.

Webster isn’t depicted in the cartoon. The strip is introduced by Trudeau’s “Jimmy Crow,” the black crow whom the cartoonist uses to personify Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws included so-called poll taxes, which were designed to disenfranchise black voters.

Trudeau has used Jimmy Crow to assail voter ID laws, which critics say are designed to discourage or prevent traditional Democratic voters from participating in elections.


The strip begins with Jimmy Crow saying: “Here in Maine, folks love to vote! They’re tops in turn-out!”

In the second frame, Crow says: “Sadly, too many of them (voters) are Democrats, who like to ‘steal’ elections, according to GOP chair Charlie Webster.” Below the text are anonymous figures representing the elderly, disabled people and college students, groups that could be disenfranchised by voter ID laws, according to critics. 

The comic then mocks claims by Webster and other Republicans who argue that voter ID laws are designed to prevent voter fraud. It mentions that Maine has had just two convictions for voter fraud over the last 38 years.

The convictions, the strip says, is the “same number of confirmed Bigfoot sightings! Coincidence? You decide!”

On Trudeau’s page on, the strip appears along with a quote from a Brennan Center of Justice report that said “an individual is more likely to be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter in the polls.”

While the comic is obviously critical of Webster, the GOP chairman laughed it off. When asked if he read Doonesbury, Webster said he didn’t know who that was. “I don’t even read the newspapers,” he joked.


A reporter read the comic to Webster. “I’m still right about it (voter fraud),” Webster responded.

The strip appears to confuse the failed attempt to repeal Election Day voter registration with a voter ID law. Some Republican lawmakers, along with Secretary of State Charlie Summers, who ran point on the Election Day voter registration repeal effort, tried to advance a voter ID law in 2011. However, that effort stalled and the bill was transformed into a study commission designed to evaluate ballot security issues.

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine worry that the study will be used to bolster a future voter ID bill if the GOP holds the majority during the next legislative session. 

Webster’s response to his appearance in the cartoon was met with derision by Democratic supporters, who took to Twitter to mock the GOP chairman. Some lamented the fact that Summers wasn’t mentioned.

Summers, who is running for the U.S. Senate, came under fire for his role in the Election Day voter registration repeal effort and his investigation into whether over 100 college students had committed voter fraud.

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

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.