By Teresa Gianotti
Earlier this week, we documented the oddly hypocritical position of Maine Governor Paul LePage and several Maine congressmen regarding the termination of same-day registration in their state. Yet the strange attacks on voting rights from the Maine GOP haven't stopped there. Think Progress reported today that Maine Secretary of State, Charles Summers, sent letters to University of Maine college students, referencing their possible election law violations. A portion of the letter reads:
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 our 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.
How did Mr. Summers obtain this list of college students? From none other than Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster, who prompted an earlier investigation of student voter fraud that found no evidence of any wrongdoing. Maine Secretary of State spokeswoman Caitlin Chamberlain told Think Progress that the office "just wanted to inform students who may not have been aware of those laws." What the students got instead was a lesson in intimidation.