MDP Statement on Victory for Yes on 1

Posted on November 9, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

MDP Chairman Ben Grant released this statement last night:


“Today, Mainers sent a clear message – the GOP made a terrible miscalculation when it rammed through this measure to limit access to the ballot. Voting is sacred to people of every political persuasion, and no secretly-funded campaign of lies can convince Mainers otherwise. This is a huge victory for Maine and for the country. In at least 30 states, the GOP is pushing voter suppression laws because they know the only way for them to stay in power is to keep people away from the voting booth. Today, Mainers did their part in turning back these shameful attempts to weaken the voice of the people in our elections.”For months, Charlie Webster has been attacking and intimidating voters. He started this campaign with baseless accusation of voter fraud and ended it with homophobic advertisements and mailers. All the while Republican leaders stood on the sidelines silently condoning this behavior. And today, Mainers told them they would not stand for it. I’m proud of every Mainer who voted “yes” today and protected their constitutional rights.

“Webster, LePage and his allies have blown through all their credibility in this campaign. Mainers are not going to forget that next year and they won’t forget who the Maine Democratic Party is working for. This isn’t the last vote of 2011, this is the first vote of 2012.”

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New ‘Protect Maine Voting Rights’ Ad: “Plain Works”

Posted on November 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Give it a look

Here is a new TV spot we produced for the Yes on Question 1 campaign in Maine, a citizens’ veto effort to repeal a law passed earlier this year that got rid of Maine’s nearly 40-year tradition of election day voter registration.

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Same Day Voting Registration Debated “In The Arena”

Posted on October 15, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Yesterday ACLU of Maine Executive Director Shenna Bellows appeared on WCSH 6 for a one-on-one debate about same-day voter registration with the CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Lance Dutson. Here is the video clip.


A reminder: Dutson has already been shown here as having spoken hypocritically against Maine’s 40 year old law- even though he himself has used it.

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Protect Maine Voter Rights Open Thread

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

It occurs to me this morning that while there is a lot of buzz and conversations via social media regarding the Protect Maine Voter Rights petition gathering events scheduled for kickoff today and tomorrow, there is not one single place where the various info is being gathered.To that end, I am creating an open thread post which will be updated as information becomes available. If you would like to have your info added, please either leave a comment here or connect via my Andi Parkinson’s Facebook account.

Rules of petition signature gathering HERE.



  • (Androscoggin County) Maine People’s Alliance, 145 Lisbon Street Ste 200, Lewiston
    Saturday July 9th – 9am
    Regional Organizer: Genevieve Lysen –, 240-6781
    Deputy Regional Organizer: Doug Kempner –, 689-1744 
  • (Aroostook County) TBA(NOTE: Troy Haines of Aroostook County Dems has told me that the list is still being compiled, but the expects there will be canvassing at next weekend’s Potato Blossom Festival in Ft Fairfield.)


  • (Cumberland County) Maine People’s Alliance, 565 Congress Street, Ste 200 Portland
    Saturday, July 9  – 9am
    Regional Organizer: Jennie Pirkl –, 671-2490 
  • (Franklin County)Anne Geller’s house, 108 Orchard St. Farmington
    Saturday July 9th – 10am 
  • (Hancock County) Maine People’s Alliance, 192 Main Street (Second Floor), Ellsworth
    Friday, July 8th – 5pm
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin-,460-1587 
  • (Kennebec County) Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewell St, Augusta
    Saturday July 9th  –  10am
    Regional Organizer: Nicole Brown –, 659-6199 
  • (Kennebec County) MoveOn members in the Augusta area can get forms and instructions while making signs for Old Hallowell Days…. check at 
  • (Knox County)  Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main Street, Thomaston
    2pm, Saturday July 9
    Contact: Bonnie Post, or 594-9263.
    Kickoff, pep rally, and signature gathering. 
  • (Lincoln County)
    Launch Saturday, July 9,  Rising Tide Supermarket, Main Street, Damariscotta, 11 AM – 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature everyday at Rising Tide, 11 AM-1PM and 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature at LCDC Monthly meeting, Boothbay Railway Village, Rte 27, Boothbay, Monday, July 11, 6 – 9 PM.County coordinator: Val Johnson,, 632-8355

    Town coordinators:
    Damariscotta:  Dean Curran,, 380-5103

    Bristol:  John Fitzpatrick,, 677-2397

    South Bristol:  Helen Marsh,, 563-6186

    Newcastle and Monhegan:  Mick Devin,, 563-3132

    Waldoboro:  Sandie O’Farrell,, 542-9380

    Bremen:  Wendy Pieh,

    Boothbay:  Sandra Rumery,, 633-2550

    Boothbay Harbor:  Jerry Topinka,, 633-0519

    Edgecomb:  Jo Cameron,, 633-2978

    Somerville:  Chris Johnson,, 632-6066

    Nobleboro:  Emma Stephenson,, 563-1886

    Jefferson:  Tom Eichler, 882-7060,


  • (Oxford County)Norway Arts Festival
    Main Street, Norway
    Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th 
  • (Oxford County) Launch throughout the day on Friday as petitions are distributed to our regional captains, and at the Street Dance on Friday night in Norway and the Art Fair in Norway on Saturday. We’d like to make 1/4 of our goal by Monday. Live in Oxford Co? Want to help? Message Cathy Newell. 
  • (Penobscot County) 20 Ivers St, Brewer
    Saturday, July 9th  –  9am
    Regional Organizer: Ryan Tipping-Spitz – 356-6997 
  • BangorContact Ryan Tipping-Spitz
    (cell: 356-6997) or stop by the MPA office at 27 State St #44 in Bangor during the week. 
  • (Piscataquis County) 
  • (Sagadahoc County) Bath Waterfront Park on Commercial St.
    Saturday July 9-  9am
    Dems have a table for signatures and petition distribution.
    Contact: Bronwen Tudor email; phone 371-9980 
  • (Sagadahoc County) Bath Farmers Market
    Saturday, July 9th, morning 
  • (Somerset County) 
  • (Waldo County) Diane Messer: I’ll be covering the Belfast Farmers Mkt on Fri morning. 
  • (Waldo County) Belfast Co-op
    Saturday, July 9 · 9:00am – 12:00pm
    We will petition there, at Arts In The Park and at the Lincolnville Strawberry Festival. If you can pitch in, or if you need to pick up petitions to take to your town, please come join us. 
  • (Waldo County) TBD
    Saturday July 9th  – TBD
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin-, 460-1587 
  • (Washington County) 
  • (York County) Outside of Alfred Parrish Church, 8 Old Kennebunk Road, Alfred
    Saturday, July 9 – 11am
    Regional Organizer: Dan Ankeles –, 756-3793 
  • Kennebunk
    Tomorrow, Kennebunk is hosting Old Home Week along Main Street. A representative from Equality Maine will be present at the Farmers’ Market collecting signatures. Bill Grabin will also be collecting signatures along Main Street from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm. Diane Denk will be collecting signatures along Main Street from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Sunday morning, Diane will also be collecting signatures in the Kennebunk Town Hall Parking Lot from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Please come and sign the petitions. As volunteers schedule other collection locations and times, you will be notified.Volunteers are still needed. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Dan Ankeles,, 796-3793.


    Even before Governor LePage signed the voter suppression bill into law, I was flooded with calls and emails from people wondering what we could do to stop it.

    Rarely is a law passed that attacks our democracy in such a fundamental way.

    There will be two great milestones in our signature gathering effort. The second will be the day we submit enough petitions to stop the voter suppression bill from becoming law.

    The first is tomorrow, as we launch this campaign.

    Please join me and thousands of volunteers across the state as we take the first step to fight back against this cynical attempt to strip voting rights from the people of Maine.

    Tomorrow we’ll be holding launch events in at least 9 counties. I hope you can make it to one.

    This is your best chance to join this effort and make a difference in protecting our democracy and our rights.

    Androscoggin County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 145 Lisbon Street Ste 200, Lewiston
    Regional Organizer: Genevieve Lysen –, 240-6781
    Deputy Regional Organizer: Doug Kempner –, 689-1744

    Hancock County:
    DATE: Friday, July 8th
    TIME: 5pm
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 192 Main Street (Second Floor), Ellsworth
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin-,460-1587

    Waldo County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin-, 460-1587

    York County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 11am
    LOCATION: (Outside) Alfred Parrish Church, 8 Old Kennebunk Road, Aflred
    Regional Organizer: Dan Ankeles –, 756-3793

    Cumberland County:
    DATE: Saturday, July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 565 Congress Street, Ste 200 Portland
    Regional Organizer: Jennie Pirkl –, 671-2490

    Penobscot County:
    DATE: Saturday, July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: 20 Ivers Street, Brewer
    Regional Organizer: Ryan Tipping-Spitz – 356-6997

    Kennebec County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 10am
    LOCATION: Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewell St, Augusta
    Regional Organizer: Nicole Brown –, 659-6199

    Franklin County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 10am
    LOCATION: the home of Anne Geller, 108 Orchard St. Farmington

    Oxford County:
    Date: Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th
    Norway Arts Festival
    Main Street, Norway

    Full list and updated information at

    Gen Lysen
    Maine People’s Alliance Lead Organizer


    Knox County.

    2pm, Saturday July 9
    Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist
    200 Main Street

    Contact: Bonnie Post, or 594-9263.
    Kickoff, pep rally, and signature gathering.


    Maine Women’s Lobby email:

    Hey volunteers,

    Thank you so much for committing some of your time to this campaign! The response has been amazing and we are lining up a strong force across the state of Maine to Protect Voting Rights.

    And, it’s GO time!

    As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Secretary of State’s office gave us the “green light” last evening and we are hitting the streets!

    With petitions in hand, you and me and hundreds of other Mainers across the State are heading out to fairs, malls, festivals, and neighborhoods to gather the needed signatures to put this question on the ballot:

    “Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?”

    Yes, we do want to reject it.

    We don’t believe that there should be any barriers to voting. Elections matter. And, every vote counts. We’re gonna get this question on the ballot – and, we’re gonna do it fast – one month.

    Oh Yeah. Yep. You Betcha. Yesiree bob.

    One month.

    Nobody wants to spend their entire summer collecting signatures when there’s so much ice cream and potato salad to enjoy. And, hot dogs, did I mention hot dogs?

    Anyway, thank you (so much) for signing up – we can do this!

    We’ll be reaching out by phone and by email over the next few hours – and next few days – to get YOU connected with those petitions.

    Also, keep checking back to for the nearest center – and volunteer coordinator – for you. It will be up and running soon! (I have included a list of local offices below).

    If you are in the Augusta/Hallowell area, we will be meeting at our office this weekend for signature collection kick-off!

    When: Saturday, July 9th
    Where: Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall St. Augusta
    What time: Trainings every hour on the hour from 10:00am – 3:00pm.

    Please shoot me back a quick email to let me know if you can be here.

    Thanks again,

    Charlotte Warren




    Launch Saturday, July 9,  Rising Tide Supermarket, Main Street, Damariscotta, 11 AM – 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature everyday at Rising Tide, 11 AM-1PM and 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature at LCDC Monthly meeting, Boothbay Railway Village, Rte 27, Boothbay, Monday, July 11, 6 – 9 PM.

    County coordinator: Val Johnson,, 632-8355

    Town coordinators:
    Damariscotta:  Dean Curran,, 380-5103

    Bristol:  John Fitzpatrick,, 677-2397

    South Bristol:  Helen Marsh,, 563-6186

    Newcastle and Monhegan:  Mick Devin,, 563-3132

    Waldoboro:  Sandie O’Farrell,, 542-9380

    Bremen:  Wendy Pieh,

    Boothbay:  Sandra Rumery,, 633-2550

    Boothbay Harbor:  Jerry Topinka,, 633-0519

    Edgecomb:  Jo Cameron,, 633-2978

    Somerville:  Chris Johnson,, 632-6066

    Nobleboro:  Emma Stephenson,, 563-1886

    Jefferson:  Tom Eichler, 882-7060,


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Senate Democratic Radio Address Discusses Voting Rights in Maine

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |


Good Morning. This is Senate Democratic Leader Barry Hobbins of Saco. Thank you for tuning in.

Like many of you, I spent the Fourth of July surrounded by friends and family. I participated in a number of celebrations from barbeques to watching a parade. But it wasn’t until the end of the day when the local fireworks display lit up the sky with bursts of color that I had time to reflect on and remember why this holiday is so important. It is so much more than a day of good eating and fanfare. It is the most patriotic holiday America has to celebrate. It’s the celebration of the birth of our nation.

While we remember that the Fourth of July is the celebration of our independence-we must also remember why freedom and independence were so important in the eighteenth century and why it’s so important now. I am reminded of the pre-American Revolution slogan: “No taxation without representation.” Our forefathers gave their life for the basic right to VOTE. Our countrymen fought to break free from the rule of the Monarchy in exchange for a direct vote and direct vote on our government. And through the decades, this right has expanded to all Americans-not just property owners. And, in fact, each and every milestone expanding our right to vote was also celebrated as a hallmark of our democracy. How many military engagements, just in our life time, have been in the name of spreading the values of Democracy? And so it is, that I speak to you today with a bit of wonderment as to why most members of the Majority Party in this last legislative session worked so doggedly to chip away at our most valued and respected rights-the right to vote.

Of particular concern are two measures attacking our voting rights that came before the legislature this session. One has to do with requiring a photo ID each and every time you vote-not just when you register. This measure-while very worrisome-has been held over until next January’s session. And I promise you that I, along with my Democratic colleagues, will fight tooth and nail against this measure.

The other bill, which has since been signed into law by the governor, eliminates same-day voter registration. Same-day voter registration has existed in Maine for nearly forty-years. And for forty-years there have been a negligible number of voter fraud cases-and of those cases, none were the result of same-day voter registration.

In 2008, more than 60,000 people in Maine registered to vote on election day. Maine has one of the highest voter participation records in the country. Maine people value their right to vote.

Voting rights and same-day voter registration is not and should not be a partisan issue. It doesn’t fall into the liberal or conservative category. In fact, the charge for same-day voter registration in Maine was led by a Republican and passed with strong bipartisan support back in the early 1970s. So, why are we, forty years later, rolling back and denying people their right to vote on election day?

During the debate of this issue, I’ve been struck by the lack of trust the Majority Party seems to have for Maine residents. If you listen to their argument, they would have you believe that Maine people are corrupt and can’t be trusted. They tell stories (unsubstantiated stories) of the Boogeyman-Maine-voter…in search of an unsuspecting town clerk in order to “game the system” with an extra vote.

I believe that Maine people have strong civic pride-and yes, many vote and support their candidate or cause with fervor. But that does not mean that Maine people are criminals or without ethics or respect for the voting process. In fact, it is with great insult that I hear some make false accusations that there are “bus-loads” of out of state people going town to town to vote.

I hear some say, “well if voting is important enough to you, you’ll find the time to register before voting day.” Sure. But, not everyone has the schedule that I have or you have. For example, my good Democratic Senate colleague from Allagash will tell you that he and other Maine loggers that he works with often come straight from the woods to vote on voting day. Their schedule is such that they work long hours, often spending weeks in the woods. And, in more rural areas of the state, town halls are not open five days a week. And, of course, there are others that will be impacted: single parents, families working more than one job-perhaps shift jobs where it’s not so easy to take time off. How about the kid who turns eighteen ON election day? Regardless of circumstance, it is not for you or I to judge and decide whether or not someone who wants to vote on election day could have “worked a little harder” to get there before election day. That is not the point. The point is that for forty-years Maine has had same-day voter registration. For forty-years there have been no cases of fraud relating to this practice. Town clerks across Maine do not think there are issues or problems relating to same-day voter registration-in fact, no one testified in favor of this law.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a bipartisan coalition has formed to seek a citizen’s initiative, a people’s veto, repealing this law. I hope that you, like me, will agree that the Constitution and in particular our right to vote should not be politicized based on an extreme, national agenda. We must repeal this law and restore voting rights to the tens of thousands of people who will turn out this November to cast their ballot. Every vote matters.

Thank you for listening. I’m Senate Democratic Leader Barry Hobbins and I wish you a great weekend.


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LD 1376 People’s Veto Petition: Rules For Gathering Signatures

Posted on July 2, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Via Cumberland County Deomcrats and shared with permission: 

People’s Veto Petition: Rules for gathering signatures
Circulating a petition is one of the most sacred acts of an engaged democracy. But the integrity of that effort rests on the shoulders of the circulators, and an entire campaign can fail because of cost-cutting.

The Cumberland County Democrats are joining with other organizations to attempt to put a question on the November ballot that would repeal the Legislature’s ban on same-day voter registration, which has worked well for Maine for decades. (More on this

As we begin gathering signatures, please bear these rules in mind.


  • There are no shortcuts! 
  • 57,277 signatures will keep the law from taking effect until the voters decide whether or not to let it stand. 
  • We have 90 days from the date of the adjournment of the Legislature to circulate and have verified the signatures needed. 
  • August 9 is the tentative deadline to get this question on the November ballot! 
  • You are the legal steward of every petition you manage. It is your name that is on the petition, and you are legally accountable for the methods employed to gather signatures. 
  • The signatures must be physically made by the voter. Absolutely no online, electronic or photocopied methods are allowed. 
  • You must personally witness every signature. 
  • You will sign a notarized oath to this effect. 
  • You will do this for every form you circulate. The notary who affirms your oath may not be related to you, under Maine law. 
  • In the past, desperate or sloppy signature-gatherers have left petitions unattended on store counters, at public supper tables or at fair booths. If the circulator has not witnessed each person signing the petition, every signature on that petition could be disqualified. 
  • In rare cases, petition-gatherers have pulled names out of phone books and copied them onto forms. This is a crime and is punishable under the law. 
  • Only registered Maine voters may circulate and sign petitions, regardless of party affiliation (or lack thereof). Individuals who sign and are not registered voters will not count toward the total. 
  • If someone who is not a registered Maine voter circulates a petition, none of the signatures on that petition can be counted. 
  • The voter must indicate the date on which he or she signed. 
  • If a voter cannot do so on his or her own, you may print his or her name, address and the date signed – but the voter must personally sign the petition. 
  • Once you affix your oath on a petition and date it, that petition form is closed, even if it only has one signature on it. If you then want to add signatures, you must start a new form. 
  • You must use the form approved by the Secretary of State, which will have affixed the copy of the law for the people’s veto. No pads of paper, no additional pages. You fill a form, you get another form. 
  • You cannot pay people to sign a petition! 
  • Only the voter may sign his or her own name. Many signatures are disqualified because the signature does not belong to the registered voter. 
  • Frequently, for instance, a couple will be approached and one says to the other, “Sign for me, too.” The Secretary of State’s Office matches up signatures to original voter registration cards, so this matters. Signatures made by another person are disqualified from the total. 
  • Voter participation in the petition is verified by the town clerk or registrar of voters, so it is important to keep petition forms segregated by town. There is no requirement to do this, but if you collect signatures of voters from Bingham, Buxton, Bucksport, Bangor and Bradley, you must take the same petition to each town to verify the status of the voters who signed. 
  • You must submit your signatures to the towns where you collected them not less than 5 days before the deadline for submission to the Secretary of State. If they are late, the town cannot verify them, even if they want to. This requierement is in the Constitution – Article IV, Part Third, Section 20.


Top reasons why signatures are invalidated:
Signatory was not a registered voter in the town specified.

  • Circulator’s oath was not administered or was not done properly. 
  • Signature was a duplicate – voters can sign as many times as they want, but only one signature counts. 
  • Voter’s signature was crossed out. (There is no legal method for withdrawing a signature, but these are not counted because Elections Division staff doesn’t know why the signature was crossed out.) 
  • Signature was dated after the date of the circulator’s oath. 
  • Signature was not on the approved form. 
  • Signature was submitted after the deadline for town verification. 
  • Voter signature was made by another. 
  • Voter did not sign the form. 
  • The notary who affirmed the oath of the circulator was related to the circulator. 
  • Signatures invalidated because of material alterations to the petition (changed dates, detaching copy of the law, etc.) 
  • Petition invalidated because it could not be verified that the circulator was a registered Maine voter. 
  • Petition invalidated because certification of the registrar was not completed.This all sounds very picky. But remember, you are dealing with a Secretary of State who is unfriendly to this effort. In the last people’s veto (on the tax reform issue), petitioners submitted more than 71,000 signatures, but because of the mistakes listed above, nearly 15,000 were kicked out. Your due diligence up front will assure that you succeed later.


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GOP Chair Charlie Webster Press Release Contains Outrageous Claims

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Here is the press release, via Dirigo Blue. Click here to read the post, including details of a conversation between DB’s Gerald Weinand and Webster.



Charlie Webster,
Maine Republican Party

Group Paying $550 a Week to Workers to Fight Crackdown on Poll-Flooding

AUGUSTA – A coalition of liberal interest groups is paying workers up to $550 a week to gather signatures for a petition to get a ‘people’s veto’ on November’s ballot, according to recent emails. The group, which includes the ultra-liberal Maine People’s Alliance (Maine’s version of ACORN) and the state-funded group Opportunity Maine, is using cold, hard cash to maintain their ability to tilt elections in their favor.

“We all know that these liberal special interest groups have been playing games with Maine elections for a long time,” said Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster. “Now we see they have become so desperate that they’re trying to buy their way onto the ballot.”

Liberal groups are attempting to use the referendum process to end efforts to stabilize Maine’s electoral process through LD1376.  They obviously object to the bill because it would eliminate their ability to flood polling places with same-day registrants, a tactic used by Democrats to reduce the ability of election clerks to ensure the validity of voters’ residence.

“Democrats have made poll-flooding a regular part of their election day gameplan,” continued Webster. “We have all seen the buses pulling up to the polling places, displacing Maine voters with people from who-knows-where. LD 1376 ends this malicious practice by requiring voters to register a mere two days prior to an election. Poll-flooding disenfranchises Maine voters, and it has no place in Maine politics.”

The facts show that Maine is among a very small minority of states that allow same day voting. The reason is simple – poll-flooding results in a higher percentage of voter fraud and abuse. Both New York and Massachusetts require voters to register at least 20 days prior to an election.

“$525 a week is a lot of money to the average working Mainer, ” said Webster. “It’s amazing to me that these groups, some who actually receive taxpayer funding, would honestly believe that Maine people would want to repeal legislation that finally addresses abuses within our election system.

“Maine’s working people expect our politicians to support fair elections. Eliminating the practice of poll-flooding will protect the integrity of our voting process.”

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