Remember when the chair of the Maine Republican Party waved a list of 206 college students’ names in the air, claiming each of them had committed voter fraud despite having no hard evidence? Well, it turns out the hoopla was just that—inaccurate rhetoric intended to suppress young people’s desire for civic engagement.
Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers spent two months investigating the students and found that none had committed voter fraud, according to the Bangor Daily News. Of the 206 students on Webster’s list, 77 had registered in their home state and then again in Maine, but none cast more than one ballot in a single election.
Webster seemed to be a wild goose chase for potentially evil, malicious student voters, as more than a third of the 206 students he claimed were registered in two states simply weren’t.
By law, voters are not required to unregister in one state when registering in another. In fact, being registered in more than one place is common for many Americans, not just students.
As we have pointed out, Webster’s arguments are flawed to begin with. He argues that to vote, citizens should be required to “establish residency” and “register my car and pay taxes in that community.” He added: “You can’t just become a student and vote wherever you want.”
In Maine, students are legally entitled to register where they attend school, so long as they establish citizenship, age, and residency—the latter of which can be with something as simple as a piece of mail or even a verbal oath.