Voter intimidation in Maine by the GOP

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    Sep 30, 2011 1:46 AM GMT
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/09/29/331788/maine-student-voter-intimidation/The latest voter suppression tactic employed by Republicans can be found in Maine, where last week the Secretary of State sent a threatening letter to hundreds of college students who were legally registered to vote in Maine, floating the possibility of election law violation and encouraging them to re-register elsewhere.

    The letter explained that Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers was writing because he “was presented with a list of 206 University of Maine students with out-of-state home addresses and asked to investigate allegations of election law violations.” That list was provided to him not by an uninterested citizen, but rather the Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster, who has accused these students of voter fraud.
    ...
    The letter does not explicitly accuse the students of violating the state’s residency laws — and indeed it would be very difficult for Summers to defend such a claim. The Supreme Court ruled over 30 years ago that students cannot be held to a different residency standard than other people within the state. Nevertheless, the letter succeeded in intimidating many of its targets.
    ...
    For the Maine secretary of state to target hundreds of college students with scare tactics on the behest of the Maine Republican Party chairman is one of the worst forms of voter intimidation. Most citizens would be understandably frightened by such a letter, especially college students who were first-time voters. Though these Maine students were performing their civic duty, the same cannot be said for Summers and Webster.

    There’s a word for top elections officials who decide not to help students to vote but rather harass them into un-registering: reprehensible.


    Dear ______:

    On July 25, 2001, I was presented with a list of 206 University of Maine students with out-of-state home addresses and asked to investigate allegations of election law violations.[...]

    Our research shows you have registered to vote as a resident of Maine. Maine’s election law (Title 21-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, section 111, subsection 1) defines “residence of a person” as “that place where the person has established a fixed and principal home to which the person, whenever temporarily absent, intends to return.” [...]

    If you are currently using an out-of-state driver’s license or motor vehicle registration, I ask that you take appropriate action to comply with out motor vehicle laws within the next 30 days (i.e. by October 20, 2011). If, instead, you are no longer claiming to be a Maine resident, I ask that you complete the enclosed form to cancel your voter registration in Maine so that out our central voter registration system can be updated.
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    Sep 30, 2011 1:59 AM GMT
    http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/archives/investigation_no_evidence_maine_student_voters_committed_voter_fraud/Yesterday Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers, Jr. reaffirmed a basic principle of Maine and federal law: Maine students are eligible to vote in Maine, regardless of whether they pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. In July, Maine Republican Party Chairman Charles Webster accused 206 students who paid “out-of-state” tuition at Maine universities of voter fraud because they voted in Maine. Secretary Summers then announced an investigation into these claims, the results of which he announced today. The result? There was, unsurprisingly, no evidence that any of the 206 students committed voter fraud.

    As the Brennan Center noted in a letter to Secretary Summers, under both Maine and federal law the standards for tuition status and voting residency are quite different. Students who meet the legal requirements for residency and choose to register may vote as Maine residents, regardless of their public university tuition status. In fact, if the requirements for in-state tuition were applied to voter residency in Maine, they would be plainly unconstitutional. So the mere fact that some Maine student voters paid out-of-state tuition should never have led to a criminal investigation.

    Careless public accusations of voter fraud - especially on such thin evidence – are a serious problem. Misinformed accusations carry the real risk of discouraging eligible voters from registering to vote and casting a ballot. Public officials and political parties alike should share an interest in ensuring that all citizens have accurate information about their voting rights – regardless of the party they intend to cast a vote for.

    The results of the investigation released today reaffirm a point we at the Brennan Center have repeatedly made: out-of-state tuition status is not a bar to registering or voting in Maine.
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:15 AM GMT
    If the letter defined correctly the meaning of residency and pointed out vehicle registration requirements, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the letter. If they are legal residents, fine, then they can also register their cars. If a population is transient, and not residents per the legal definition, why should they vote in Maine?

    I sense those who oppose a letter such as this one also oppose voter identification requirements and support voter fraud as long as it favors the Democrats.
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:32 AM GMT
    http://mainecampus.com/2011/09/07/gop-chair-college-students-skew-elections/
    ‘I am not welcome here’

    Rebecca Holmes, 19, a second-year psychology student at UMaine from Milford, N.H., is one of the 206 students implicated as fraudulent voters. She said her inclusion is an error.

    “I had never been registered to vote before living on campus,” she said. “When I registered to vote at [UMaine], it was because I had checked to make sure I was allowed to vote on campus, then I decided that I wanted to vote in the town and state that I was going to be spending the majority of my time in for the next four years.”

    Holmes took matters into her own hands and called Webster to confront him about the evidence used to accuse her.

    She said when she “pressed him for answers and facts,” he grew frustrated, and told her he did not have a copy of the list, making it impossible to verify whether she was named.

    “I absolutely feel like my voting rights are being undermined,” she said. “The message that I, as a young adult who has come to Maine to create a life, have received from this investigation and from Charlie Webster is that I am not welcome here.”

    “The knowledge that a future employer could find my name in connection to an investigation for fraud, and that such a connection could damage my chances at getting hired, is scary,” Holmes said. “Mostly, though, I would say that it has made me feel empowered. I am just now realizing how hard I will fight for something I believe in.”

    Webster said he did not want to put himself in a position of doing something wrong by making the names of those on the list public, leading to potentially false accusations.

    Christopher Knoblock, 22, a fourth-year communication student from Belmont, Mass., said he was unaware his name appeared on the list until he was contacted by a reporter from the Bangor Daily News last month.

    “I feel that prohibiting out-of-state students from voting where they spend nine months out of the year is ridiculous,” he said. “I actually spend less than two weeks a year in Massachusetts, as I work in Maine during the summer and have for the past six years. The issues in Maine affect me more.”

    Knoblock said he “found it interesting” that despite not being registered with a party, he tends to almost always vote along Webster’s Republican platform.

    Webster, however, is unapologetic.

    “My critics can call me the boogeyman all they want, but, believe it or not, I’ve been trying to change this law for 30 years,” he said.

    “I’m on a mission to make Maine a better place.”
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:36 AM GMT
    Well, if they are not formal residents of the state, they can't vote and should be informed of this to rectify the situation. But voter fraud? That's taking it a bit far based on erroneous information.

    And this Rebecca Holmes, she's taking it too far too. Her voting rights are not being undermined. She is the one who didn't make sure she could vote.

    I see nothing wrong with the letter since it gave correct information.
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:51 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidI think we even have a picture of this voter intimidation:

    76e5c03b96de79747129eeea3447aed3.jpg


    I think we have a better picture of your racism. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Sep 30, 2011 3:36 AM GMT
    What evidence did the Republican party guy have to make Webster even chase after this?

    It just stinks of partisanship. Which is kind of hard to believe coming out of Maine. A state known for it's moderate and level-headedness in politics. Senator Olympia Snow, is an amazing example of how a politician should act/be (for the most part) and anyone who truly sees themselves as a progressive Republican should be at odds with their party that she was looked over for someone so disgusting as Sarah Palin for V.P. But that's what happens when you let horny men make important decisions. we either get something blowin' up or just blowin'.
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    Sep 30, 2011 3:54 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidI think we even have a picture of this voter intimidation:

    76e5c03b96de79747129eeea3447aed3.jpg


    I think we have a better picture of your racism. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Which is... non-existent. icon_wink.gif


    The conflation of 2 African American men standing outside a polling station and the widespread conspiracy to deny people of color, the elderly, students and the poor their right to vote is racist.
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    Sep 30, 2011 12:05 PM GMT
    carminea saidWell, if they are not formal residents of the state, they can't vote and should be informed of this to rectify the situation. But voter fraud? That's taking it a bit far based on erroneous information.

    And this Rebecca Holmes, she's taking it too far too. Her voting rights are not being undermined. She is the one who didn't make sure she could vote.

    I see nothing wrong with the letter since it gave correct information.


    How come such a letter isn't sent to every transient worker/resident of Maine? Convenience of sampling (because college students from out of state are easier to tally)? Lack of effort on the part of the Secretary of State to find out who's transient?

    I dunno, if I were a college student in Maine and receive an official letter from the state that has the words "allegations of election law violations" and it has my name on it, I'd be intimidated as well.

    I never had a driver's license from my college's state--I never drove then. I wonder how many of the names on this Maine list had people who don't, well, own a vehicle and never drive in Maine? What qualifies then as a declaration of intent of residency in Maine, besides living there?
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:02 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidI think we even have a picture of this voter intimidation:

    76e5c03b96de79747129eeea3447aed3.jpg


    I think we have a better picture of your racism. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Which is... non-existent. icon_wink.gif


    The conflation of 2 African American men standing outside a polling station and the widespread conspiracy to deny people of color, the elderly, students and the poor their right to vote is racist.


    How did "the elderly, students and the poor" all of a sudden enter into the "racist" equation? If you're trying to make a point why can't you at least stay with "african american"?

    BTW, didn't southbeach at one point have a black boyfriend or partner or something?
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    Sep 30, 2011 2:37 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidI think we even have a picture of this voter intimidation:

    76e5c03b96de79747129eeea3447aed3.jpg


    I think we have a better picture of your racism. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Which is... non-existent. icon_wink.gif


    The conflation of 2 African American men standing outside a polling station and the widespread conspiracy to deny people of color, the elderly, students and the poor their right to vote is racist.


    How did "the elderly, students and the poor" all of a sudden enter into the "racist" equation? If you're trying to make a point why can't you at least stay with "african american"?

    BTW, didn't southbeach at one point have a black boyfriend or partner or something?


    "I'm not racist, I've fucked black guys!"
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 30, 2011 4:56 PM GMT
    LOL .......

    That was classic

    But EVERY SINGLE republican controlled state has changed it's voter registration rules
    Making it more difficult to vote for the elderly ..... icon_neutral.gif

    For the younger voters

    For the poor

    For the black voters in their state


    I wonder why they're doing this ?
    Hmmmmmmmm........ It's a mystery to me icon_cool.gif

    Republicans .... Why don't you just come out and SAY it
    "we need to steal our elections"

    You'll be able to breath so much better ..... Telling the truth is so freeing ...lol

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 30, 2011 10:05 PM GMT
    Republican Governors Change Voting Laws in Prep for 2012
    By Lauren Victoria Burke
    http://politic365.com/2011/06/05/republican-governors-change-voting-laws-in-prep-for-2012/

    The Republican Threat to Voting
    Published: April 26, 2011
    Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/opinion/27wed1.html

    The GOP War on Voting
    In a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next year
    By Ari Berman
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-gop-war-on-voting-20110830