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MEMO Protect Maine Votes PAC To: Protect Maine Votes PAC steering committee, Mark Gray, campaign

n manager other interested parties

From: Ben Chin, Maine People's Alliance political engagement director and campaign field director Today the Protect Maine Voting Rights coalition is delivering more than 68,000 signatures to the office of the Secretary of State in order to ensure that a People's Veto referendum on the elimination of Election Day voter registration will be placed on the ballot this November. The gathering of this many signatures in the timeframe necessary through this kind of grassroots effort is unique in Maine history. This document provides a brief overview of how this was achieved and what it means for the continuing campaign to protect voting rights for the people of Maine. Timing and logistics Due to the mechanics of the Peoples Veto process, the signing of this bill late in the session, and our determination to place a question on the November ballot to ensure that Election Day registration is defended as quickly as possible, we faced a window of only about three weeks during which we could collect the 57,277 necessary signatures and be assured they would be processed by town clerks and the Secretary of State in time. Many people familiar with the referendum process believed that this result would not be possible through a grassroots effort and voting rights opponents publicly declared that they believed we would fail to gather the necessary signatures in the allotted time.
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Numbers As you can see from the chart above showing when signatures were reported to our tracking system, petition circulators collected an average of more than 3,000 signatures per day, with a ramping-up period at the beginning of the campaign as we trained volunteers and a continued influx of signatures even after the deadline. Although we are submitting 68,000 signatures today, the campaign actually gathered more than 83,000, with some being submitted tomorrow and others not having been validated by town clerks, or at least not in time for delivery. 68,000 is far beyond the required amount and is even well beyond our own goals for the campaign. It is a tribute to the dedication and passion of our volunteers and to the high level of public support for this issue. Is this enough? An analysis of 22 previous referendum signature gathering campaigns conducted for Down East Magazine found that, on average, 7.27% of collected signatures are found invalid by the Secretary of State. (On average, an additional 9.57% of signatures were invalidated by town clerks - all of the signatures delivered today have already passed this level of validation.) With more than 68,000 signatures submitted, more than 15% could be rejected and the question would still make Novembers ballot. We are confident that, barring some huge and unforeseen development, a Peoples Veto of the elimination of Election Day registration will be voted on in November.

A grassroots campaign More interesting than the fact of our success is the way in which it was achieved. The Protect Maine Voting Rights coalition made a decision from the start to run a grassroots campaign focused on volunteer engagement and not to hire an out-ofstate petition gathering firm. Only volunteers and employees of our member organizations gathered signatures and the majority of the signatures were collected by volunteers more than 1,500 in all, representing every county and almost every town in Maine. Never before has a Peoples Veto campaign succeeded in making the November ballot without hiring a professional petition gathering firm. A shoestring budget The campaign accomplished this unprecedented feat with only around $100,000 in expenditures on this part of the campaign, despite estimates from voting rights opponents that any such effort would cost five times as much. While the PAC isnt required to release a full accounting of contributions and expenditures until October, the public may be interested to know that all money contributed to the campaign so far has come from Maine individuals and organizations and the majority of contributions have come from organizational members of the Protect Maine Voting Rights coalition, who are themselves in large part funded by their individual members. What this means for the future The outpouring of support for this campaign was nothing short of phenomenal. There are two main reasons why we exceeded our goals. First, we had more volunteers working longer hours and gathering more signatures than we had planned for or had hoped to engage. Second, we had a much more enthusiastic response from Maine voters than we had anticipated. The rate of signature collection at public events and door-to-door was higher than the rate reported by other campaigns. This is due to both general understanding of the simple, common-sense nature of the issue and widespread support for protecting voting rights and maintaining Maines culture of fairness and democracy. These factors bode well for the future of this campaign and for our chances in November. Based on the experiences of the campaign so far, we can likely expect a high level of grassroots and volunteer engagement and a very supportive electorate.