Public Information Campaign for LD 1376
Prepared by the Office of the Secretary of State, May 2011
All Maine citizens who are eligible to vote
Inform the audience that they must now register to vote and/or request an absentee ballot
no later than two business days prior to Election Day (i.e. the preceding Thursday).
Tactics, Execution & Projected Cost
e Print Media
o Submit press releases to dailies and weeklies
• Cost: $0
• Broadcast Media (Radio and Television)
o Produce 3 30-second Public Service Announcements to distribute to local
• Production Cost: $1000 - $1500, Broadcasting Cost: $0
o Distribute audio from PSA's to local radio networks
• Broadcasting Cost: $0
• Internet & Social Media
o Post alerts & updates to Secretary of State Website (www.maine.gov/sos)
• Cost: $0
o Post reminders on Twitter and other social networking sites
• Cost: $0
• Display Monitors at BMV branches
o Show notifications on display monitors
• Cost: $0
• Visual aids (informational posters)
o Displayed at municipal offices
o Distributed to disability advocacy groups
• Cost: $1,450 (2,500 posters x $.58)
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST: $2,450 to $2,950
Maine Secretary of State supports bill eliminating same-day vote ... http://bangordailynews.com/20 I 1/0610 l/politics/maine-secretar ...
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elirrtinating same-day voter
By Steve Mistler, Sun Journal
Posted June 01, 2011, at 5:23 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine - Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Republican leaders are supporting a bill
that would eliminate Maine's 38-year-old same-day voting registration and ban absentee voting two
business days before Election Day.
Proponents say the bill is designed to ease the workload of town clerks overwhelmed by an increasing
number of voters who cast absentee ballots and who wait until the election to register.
But crities counter that those voters often are students, the elderly or disabled. Groups such as the Maine
Civil Liberties Union believe LD is an attempt by Republicans to gain an electoral advantage.
Summers said the bill is designed to "protect the integrity of voting" by alleviating pressure on town
clerks on Election Day. He said the bill "has nothing to do with voter fraud," an issue that has yielded
only two prosecutions in Maine history.
Summers said technological advances allowed "interest groups of all stripes to drive people to the polls."
"That's a good thing," Summers said. "But because they're doing that in such large numbers, the clerks '.'
are working from a 1973 elections model and they're getting 2011 technology dropped on top of them."
He added that the stress could result in mistakes being made.
Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, and other Democrats say the bill addresses a problem that doesn't exist.
Carey believes the proposal is designed to curb Democrats' same-day voter mobilization, efforts that he
thinks Republicans emulated and used to their advantage in 2.010.
"If it wasn't for same-day registration, Paul LePage probably wouldn't be governor," Carey said.
More thaD IfL.ooo Mainers registered on Election flay in 2010.
8 a-.nv that sa.w I.ePage narrowly win a
five-way race and give Republicans control of the Legislature.
Republicans aren't convinced that same-day registration played a role in their November sweep.
However, Shenna Bellows, with the MCLU, thinks it was as significant as the 50,000 Mainers who
registered in 2008 when Barack Obama won the presidency.
"Same-day voter registration iikely favors the candidate with the most momentum and popularity, not
any particular party," Bellows said. "In 2008 that was Barack Obama. In 2010 it was Republicans and
6/611] 6:31 AM
Maine Secretary of State supports bill eliminating same-day vote ... http://bangordailynews.com/20 11 106/0 1 Ipol itics/maine-secretar ...
Summers said LD 1376 has nothing to do with gaining an electoral advantage.
"This is designed to relieve stresses on the system," he said. "People can try to assign falsehoods and
nefarious reasons behind it, but that's not what this is about."
More than 68,000 Mainers have registered to vote on Election Day, but Summers isn't concerned that
voter turnout will be affected. He said voters will respond to the deadline.
Summers said be's focused on making it easier for town clerks to administer ejections. Increases in
no-reason absentee voting appear to have made that process more difficult.
The no-reason absentee policy was implemented in 2000,. Since then, absentee voting increased 12
percent in 2002, 18 percent in 2006 and 25 percent in 2010 in gubernatorial elections.
sil",nifj"".nt in pre.sidential elections.
Last year, the city of Bangor reported that 60 percent of all ballots cast were absentee.
Lewiston City Clerk Kathleen Montejo said the absentee spike has created more work for her staff during
the days leading up to the election. She said some absentee voters who cast ballots earlier sometimes
wait in lon1T,€.r than they do on Election Day.
The absentee issue prompted the Maine Town & City Clerks' Association to endorse LD 1376. However,_
2Jiring the bill's public hearing, the organization said it was concerned that eliminating same-day
• .I! r During the hearing, Bangor City Clerk Patti Dubois said she'd rather keep same-day registration while
ft:- imposing the two business-day ban on absentee voting.
Summers said focusing the bill on the absentee voting provision would "only solve half the issue."
He also isn't convinced that ending same-day registration would hurt seniors and students, as
"If it affects every single person in the state the same, I fail to see how it makes it more difficult to vote,"
The AARP testified against the bill, saying it could prevent some seniors from voting because it would
require them to get to town han twice, rather than once.
In addition to same-day registration and absentee votiug, LD 1376 changes the deadline that
registrations can be submitted by third-party organizations that mobilize voters.
The proposal, along with another bill requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls,
resembles legislation currently before or recently passed by other Republicau-controlled legislatures this
Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently signed legislation that repeals a 40-year-old law that allows voters to
change their addresses and names at the polls on Election Day. The new bill requires voters who make
those changes to cast a prmdsionaJ ballot, which opponents say may not be counted. It, Eke the Maine
bill, also tightens third-party registration rules.
Ohio and Pennsylvania are considering bills to tighten voter rules, wbile Texas recently enacted a voter
The Republican-controlled Moutana Legislature in April also approved a bill that ended that state's
samB-d8V voter ref:1stratkrfL GOP lawmt]Kers said the hRd the ryotential for voter ITS.uiL
6/6/1 16:31 AM
Ending same-day registration protects 'integrity of Maine's elec ... hllp:llbangordailyncws.com/20 II/06102/opinion/ending-same-d ...
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.... ~ .... A",.,. same-day registration protects
'integrity of Maine's elections'
By Charles E. Summers, .Jr.
Posted June 02,2011, at 8:03 p.m.
I read with dismay the recent column, "Bill to end same-day voter registration a solution in search of a
problem" by Shenna Bellows. It is unfortunate that she did not contact me to discuss her concerns with
LD 1376 before submitting her views to the Bangor Daily News. A candid conversation on the subject
could have allayed her concerns and provided an opportunity to better understand the importance of
Maine has consistently ranked highly in voter turnout compared to Maine's voting-age population. This
has been trne regardless of what laws existed concerning voter registration. For example, from 1960 to
1972 voter turnout in Maine for presidential elections ranged between 60.27 percent (1972) and 71.73
percent (1960). After the 1973 enactment of same-day voter registration, voter turnout ranged from
62.15 percent (1988) to 72.91 percent (1992).
It is clear that same-day registration has not had a significant effect on voter turnout in Maine. What has
increased voter turnout is the Motor Voter Law enacted in 1990 allowing people to register to vote at
Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches, which LD 1376 will not change.
Furthermore, I haye neve" 'lied that this is a measure necessa to prevent voter fraud as Ms. Bellows
asserts. In fa I have stressed re eatedl t at this bill has been designed to relieve some of the stress on
~ . ! ! ! . n . This bill simply gives municipal clerks some breat mgroom during this highly stressful
period by pushing the deadline for absentee ballot requests and voter registration out just two business
Also, the Maine Town and City Clerks' Association testified in favor of LD 1376 agreeing that changes
relieving the stresses on the system would be welcomed. Upon questioning by members of the Veterans
and Legal Affairs Committee they did state that if the bill were amended so that it only dealt with
absentee balloting they would still be in favor of the legislation.
Over the years, I have heard from numerous town clerks expressing the difficulty they face during the
days leading up to Election Day as they prepare for the election, register voters, process absentee ballots
and see to their other municipal duties.
This bill is not a solution in search of a problem. It is a proactive step aimed at securing the integrity of
Maine's elections. ----- --
LD 1376 is a bill that treats everyone exactly the same way and to suggest, as Ms. Bellows did, that this
bill is an attempt to gain an electoral advantage is extremely cynical. It merely reduces the number of
days that Mainers can register to vote from 252 to 250 days. We have measures in place to accommodate
6/6/11 9:35 AM
Ending same-day registration protects 'integrity of Maine's elcc .. http://bangordailynews . com120 11 106/02/0pini ani ending-same-d ..
2 of 2
those with extennating circnmstances by allowing people to register via mail or vote by absentee ballot
for no reason.
As secretary of state, I have been charged with preserving the integrity of the voting process. My
responsibility is to make sure every Mainer has full access to their sacred right to cast a ballot. LD 1376
will ensure that our election process remains one of the best in the nation and that all Maine citizens are
afforded the right to vote.
Charles E. Summers, Jr., is Maine's secretary of state.
http://bangordailynews.com/ 2011/ 06 / 02/ opinion/ ending-same .. day·registration·protecl:s- %e2%80
%98integrity-of-ulaine%e2%8o%99s-elections%c2%8o%99! printed on June 6, 2011
6/611 J 9:35 AM
STATE OF MAINE
SECRETARY OF STATE
CHARLES E. SUMMEHS, JR.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Honorable Nichi S. Farnham
Chair, J oint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
100 State House Station
Augusta. Maine 04333-0100
Honorable Michael O. Beaulieu
Chair, Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
100 S tate House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0100
Dear Senator Famham, Representative Beaulieu and Members of the Committee:
Maine election law, Title 21-A §195, requires the Secretary of State to report annually "on the
administration of the central voter registration system." The law permits that the report may
address issues of "public access to the information from the central voter registration system,
taking into consideration the compelling state interests to prevent voter fraud and the potential
disenfranchisement of voters and to ensure that voters are not discouraged from participating in
the voting process.'l The law further provides that the "report il1ay include suggested legislation
necessary to administer the central voter registration system." I am pleased to present the 2011
The 2010 election cycle generated significant interest and activity with the large number of
candidates for governor in both the primary and general elections and the number of contested
legislative races. The gubernatorial election cycle was the second primary and general election
cycle in which Maine's Central Voter Registration System (CVR) was used by all municipal
election officials to conduct their voter registration and absentee voting activities. As in the 2008
election cycle, the CVR was again put to the test and succeeded . .:::The system, by the
of the Secretary of State, and containing over one million voter records, was
regularly accessed and updated over the internet in real time by municipal
muniCipal JUrIsdictions. Not only did the help erection officials smoothly
administer a very busy and closely watched electlOn:ita.ISo facilitated the use of innovative
oliline citiz.ell ser:;(jces accesseCll1"iIciUgnMaine's eDenlocracy While there is still work
to assure the CVR contall1S the most complete and accurate"l:lata possible, and that it
best serves local election officials and Maine's voters, it is worth noting its success.
148 STATE HOUSE STATION AUGUSTA, MAiNE 04333··0148 • TELEPHONE: (207) 626-8400 FAX: (207)
Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
CVR Background and Overview
In 2001, the Maine Legislatmc enacted legislation requiring the Secretary of State to establish a
Central Voter Registration System (CVR) for the State of Maine by December 31,2007. The
following year Congress, as part of the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) election reforms,
similarly required that every state develop a statewide voter registration system.
By the spring of 2007, the Department of the Secretary of State had fully implemented the CVR,
meeting the requirements of the State law and federal law. The Department successfully
deployed all required CVR infrastructure, including municipal equipment and network
connectivity; the CVR application, £leclioNet, became fully operational; voter registration data
from all municipal jurisdictions were loaded into £lectioNet; and election officials from ail
municipalities received initial training on how to use the new system.
The CVR is, at its core, the system used by municipal clerks and registrars from over 500
municipal jurisdictions to maintain voter registration records and to administer key election
management activities, such as issuing and tracking absentee ballots and printing the incoming
voting lists that are used to check voters in at voting places on Election Day. With all municipal
voter registration data loaded into the CVR, the Department and municipal election officials arc
now able to realize the full benefits of an integrated system. Municipal election officials have a
versatile voter registration system that requires no local licensing or maintenance fees, and that
facilitates voter registration and election activities. The CVR allows clerks and registrars to
share information through the use of electronic notices, assuring that when a voter registers in a
new municipality, the voter's old record is appropriately and automatically removed from the
municipality of prior registration, saving the election officials both time and mailing costs. The
CVR also allows the Department to efficiently complete activities that were once left to
municipalities to perform. These activities include mandatory federal reporting of voter
registration statistics and Election Day voting information; and the conduct of voter list
maintenance functions required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). The
Department, in cooperation with municipalities, has worked to identify and remove records of
deceased voters, and continues to work to identify for removal duplicate records that existed
before statewide implementation of the CVR.
The implementation and ongoing maintenance of the CVR has been paid for with federal HA V A
funds along with the required 5% State matching funds. Prior to 2007, the Department applied
for and secured the full amount of federal HA V A funds for which Maine was eligible, based on
federal appropriations at that time. Congress, however, had not fully funded HA VA.
Anticipating significant ongoing costs of maintenance and administration of the CVR along with
the other HA V A requirements, Maine and other states successfully sought and received
additional appropriations between 2007 and 2009, bringing the federal appropriations closer to
the original authorizations in HA V A.
Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
Maine is now eligible for $1,425,000 in new federal funds. To obtain these fl)nds, Maine will
need to document that it has obtained $75,000 in State matching funds. In June of 2009, the
Legislature provided $30,263 in matching funds, pursuant to language included in the
Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations law (P.L. 2009 Ch. 1). As of the end of2010, the
remaining State match 0[$44,737 has now accrued in the Central Voter Registration Other
Special Revenue Account, in which monies received from the sale of voter registration data are
deposited. Our office will now work on completing the other requirements precedent to
funds during 20 II. (p2)
In 2010, the CVR was put to the test. Clerks and Registrars across the State tq
efficiently process 50,761 new voter registrations; 75.136 regis1ration changes (such as P'lrty
enrollment changes or new addresses); and 29,623 registration cancellations. The CVR was also_
used to successfull rocess 39.264 absentee ballot re uest in the Primary Election and 14 984
absentee ballot re uests in the Genera cellOn, including 1,347 ballot requests processed by the
E eatlOns Division for the Unifoffi1ed Service and Overseas Voters.
Data provided by the CVR allowed the Department, in partnership with InforME, to continue to
offer innovative citizen services. The Voter Information Look-up Service allows citizens to find
the name and address of their voting place; to quickly find information about all the candidates
for office in their district; and to find contact information for their municipal officials. The CVR
allowed the State to monitor and audit its Online Absentee Ballot Request Service, to assure that
all requests were properly processed.
By the time the polls closed on November 2
, 580,538 Maine voters had cast their ballots in the
General Election. The municipal clerks are working on completing the voter participation
history eVPH) for the election, which captures the names of voters who voted either in person or
by absentee ballot for the election. Although this effort was delayed until the conclusion of the
statewide referendum recount in mid-December, the project is now well underway. As of this
date. with 65% of the municipalities having completed their VPH, the following are the numbers
of voters by party enrollment who voted in the 2010 General Election:
14,934 Green Independents
144,420 Unenrolled Voters
This datu confirms that all three currently qualified political parties has retained their party
qualification, pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. section 301, subsection 1 eEl.
Ongoing Obligations, Improvements and Enhancements
In addition to its election-specific CVR activity, the Department has ongoing responsibilities to
maintain the system and provide support to its municipal partners in the election process. The
Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
Department maintains and staffs a toll-tree Help Desk to provide assistance to municipal clerks
and registrars, as needed, and offers aruma1 refresher training. In2010, there were almost 2,700
calls handled by the CVR Help Desk. Additionally, the Department continues to work with the
ElectioNet software vendor and municipal nsers to intl'oduce new or enhanced fimctionaiity that
was not required at the outset. For example, the Depmiment is implementing a robust petition
module which will streamline the certification of statewide and municipal citizen initiative and
candidate petitions; and also is designing a module that will facilitate redistricting.
Issues with Administration of the CVR
. As ~ y e maintain the CVR, our ofIice will continue to rely on municipal expertise and
cooperation. Continued collaboration is essential to maintaining a functional and successful
As previously noted, the CVR is a statewide system maintained by the Department, and accessed
by municipal clerks and registrars over the Internet. Clerks and registrars in over 500
municipalities are primarily responsible for voter record maintenance, including: adding new
voter records; updating records with address changes, patiy changes, or other changes; and
entering election participation history. Conseqnently, as we noted in previous reports, the
success and accuracy of the CVR relies not only on the Department performing its system
maintenance duties, but also on the accurate and timely use of the system by municipal clerks
and registrars. Updates and changes are made in real time and are immediately visible to
authorized Department staff. This provides the Department with an unprecedented view of
municipal compliance with election laws and procedures.
With this visibility, as the Department identifies issues, staff has worked with municipalities to
resolve the problems on an expedited basis. It is worth noting, however, tbat with limited staff
resources, and without direct enforcement authority, the Department is restricted in its capacity
to rectify issues. For example, an individual may request from the Department a file detailing
statewide voter participation history. If a significant number of municipalities has not completed
the voter participation history for a given election in a timely manner, the file provided by the
Department will be incomplete. The requestor will look to the Department for the missing data;
however, without municipal assistance there is no way for us to remedy the matter. As these
issues arose throughout 2010, the Department staff worked to streamline and target reminders in
an effective malmer. As we continue to analyze the completeness and accuracy of the required
post-election activities, it will be important that such efforts take into account limited staff
resources and are conducted in a cost efficient manner.
CVR Data: Use alld Distributioll Recommendations
The :2008 election cycle provided our first opportunity to learn how the laws governing use and
distribution of CVR data worked and what might be improved. In the last report, our office
recommended legislation to reflect what we had learned. The 124'11 Legislature enacted these
changes as Chapter 564 of the Public Laws of2009, which became effective on July 12, 2010.
Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
During the 20 I 0 election cycle, we gained even more experience with providing CVR data to
parties, candidates and issue campaigns, and groups conducting get-out-the-vote activities, We
found the new laws on access to CVR data were very easy to understand and administer. Further,
in the fall of2010, the Legislative Subcommittee of the Right to Know Advisory Committee
reviewed Maine's statute on access to voter registration data from the CVR, and recommended that
no changes be made, This recommendation was accepted by the full Right to Know Advisory
Committee, Accordingly, at this time, we are not recommending any further changes to the laws
governing use and distribution of voter registration data from the CVR,
Throughout the Department's effort to deploy the CVR and through its first uses, our primary CD
objective has been to seamlessly implement a reliable system that facilitates the voter registration 3
process and assures the accuracy and integrity ofl\1aine's elections, I am confident that we have
met and exceeded that goal, and we have begun to enjoy many additional benefits of the CvR. -
I look forward to working with you as you consider this report, and as our Department continues
to maintain the CVR, administer other HAVA initiatives and fulfill its ongoing obligations, As
always, you may contact me at 626-8400 if! can provide you with any additional materials,
answer any questions, or assist you in any way,
Charles E. Sur11111ers, 1r.
Secretary of State