Gov. Paul LePage questioned the integrity of the November elections Friday, citing the possibility of voter fraud without providing evidence of any problems with Maine’s balloting.

“The Secretary of State cannot guarantee with 100 percent certainty that no non-citizens voted in the election,” LePage said in a written statement issued Friday afternoon. “He cannot guarantee that no college students voted both in Maine and their home state. He cannot guarantee someone did not vote in both the town they previously lived in and the town they now reside in.”

Maine’s secretary of state responded with his own statement, saying voters can be assured that the integrity of the elections is not in question and there is no evidence of fraud or malfeasance.

LePage also said that electronic voting machines and paper ballots can be manipulated or miscounted. “If even one vote was counted improperly or was cast by a non-citizen, then we must determine how to fix it and make sure it does not happen again,” he said. “Until we can absolutely ensure the integrity of the voting process in Maine, I cannot attest to the accuracy of the results of this election – nor can anyone else.”

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap responded with a written statement directly contradicting the governor, and challenged LePage to report any evidence he might have to law enforcement authorities.

“The integrity of Maine’s elections is not in question,” Dunlap said in the statement. “If Gov. LePage or any other party has evidence of attempts at voter fraud or other malfeasance related to the election, we encourage them to come forward with that information so those instances can be investigated. … The citizens of Maine can be fully confident that their votes are counted accurately and the results reflect the will of the voters.”


The dueling statements came two days after LePage sent out a letter to legislators that included a standard message telling them they should show up in Augusta on Dec. 7 to start conducting the people’s business. In his letter, the Republican governor added that he had “strong concerns” about the Nov. 8 results.

“I am issuing this summons and signing this election certificate despite the fact that I maintain strong concerns regarding the integrity of Maine’s ballot and the accuracy of Maine’s election results and I cannot attest to the accuracy of the tabulation certified by the secretary of state,” LePage wrote.

The governor’s staff did not respond to repeated requests on Thursday and Friday for more details or evidence of problems with the election results.

The issues raised by the governor Friday have been raised in the past, and multiple investigations have failed to find widespread fraud.

LePage has been raising the issue of voter fraud since before the election, and at the same time that then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was insisting that the election is “rigged” and voter fraud is widespread, an assertion that has been found to be untrue.

At the time, Dunlap said he knew of only two cases in his 10 years as the state’s top election official in which voters cast more than one ballot, and in both cases the acts were caught, deemed unintentional and didn’t lead to prosecution.


Dunlap is aware of only one election-related inquiry this election cycle, Kristen Muszynski, his office’s communications director, said. The Attorney General’s Office is investigating a student in Lewiston who said he voted in his home state and in Maine.

According to the fact-checking website Politifact, which rated Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud “pants on fire,” an investigation of voting irregularities found 31 credible incidents of voter fraud out of more than 1 billion votes cast from 2000 to 2014. Another investigation found 150 alleged cases of double voting, 56 cases of non-citizens voting and 10 cases of voter impersonation in all elections from 2009 to 2011. Most of the cases did not lead to charges.

In 2012, then-Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster alleged voting irregularities in the election that November, claiming without evidence that hundreds of unknown black people showed up in some rural towns to vote on Election Day.

A spokesman for Attorney General Janet Mills said the office had no comment on the governor’s letter, and said they could not comment on whether there have been any reports of possible voter fraud because it would be considered confidential while under investigation.

Even Senate Republican leadership said they were not aware of what prompted the governor’s concern.

“We’re not sure what the governor is referring to,” said Jim Cyr, the spokesman for Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Waldo.


State Rep. Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston, the outgoing House chair of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee, said he’s given up trying to figure out what prompts the governor to do or say anything.

“If I’d scratch my head every time he did something that didn’t make sense, my head would be a lot smaller,” said Kruger, who has been term-limited out of the Legislature and said he’s not interested in going back.

Kruger said he checked with his town clerk in Thomaston, who said there were no problems with voting last month.

Kruger doubts LePage’s comments will amount to anything, but the allegations of vote-rigging by the governor and the president-elect hurt people’s faith in democracy. The comments also reaffirmed Kruger’s decision to leave the Legislature behind.

“I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I’m not doing it anymore,” he said. “It just keeps getting crazier.”

Maine law requires the Secretary of State’s Office to certify the results of the election within 20 days. Dunlap submitted certified results to LePage on Nov. 28, Muszynski said. LePage has 10 days to review the submission and issue proclamations for both the legislative races and the ballot questions.

LePage’s letter on Wednesday was for the legislative races, but not referendum results, she said. It’s unclear what will happen if LePage does not issue a proclamation on the ballot questions.

When asked whether it would matter if the governor did not send out the traditional letter, a spokesman for the attorney general declined to comment, but referred reporters to the “relevant” section of the Maine constitution, which says “the veto power of the governor shall not extend to any measure approved by vote of the people.”

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy contributed to this report.

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