Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s office on Monday the names of 206 individuals whom he believes committed voter fraud in the 2010 election. Webster said his recent research has concluded that the state’s election system is rife with abuse and he called for the secretary of state and attorney general to investigate his claims.
All 206 names — which were not provided to the media — were students at one of Maine’s public universities in 2010. Webster said if he had access to enrollment data for the state’s private colleges, he believes the list of potential violators would be in the thousands. “This ought to concern Maine residents,” he said late Monday morning from the State House. “This fraud is outrageous.”
Webster began researching recent voter fraud a few weeks ago after a broad-based coalition of advocacy groups began gathering signatures in an attempt to overturn a new law that bans voter registration on Election Day.
A call to the Secretary of State’s Office seeking comment was not immediately returned Monday morning.
Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, who attended Webster’s press conference, said Webster’s evidence contradicts what Secretary of State Charlie Summers has said in the past: that Maine elections are well run and that instances of fraud are scarce.
Carey also criticized Webster for failing to provide any further details such as: How many of the 206 students actually voted twice? How many of them registered in Maine on Election Day? How many officially declared residency in Maine?
Asked for specifics, Webster said that he did not have the resources to get that data.
“I only dealt with what was the easiest thing to find,” the GOP chairman said.
The Republican-led Legislature passed a law in June that reversed a 38-year-old Maine practice of allowing residents to register to vote on Election Day. The law change was initiated to bring integrity to the election process and alleviate stress on municipal clerks, according to supporters.
Shortly after the law passed, a petition drive was launched to gather more than 57,000 signaturesand force a statewide vote that would either affirm the new law or overturn it.