A coalition that is campaigning to preserve same-day voter registration in Maine said Tuesday that many conservative leaders have done just what they support abolishing. Voting records reveal that Gov. Paul LePage, at least two state senators and eight state representatives have in the past registered to vote on election day or during the two business days preceding it. A new law that they all support would ban voter registration within two business days of an election.
The law, passed with Republican support, is now the subject of a people’s veto referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot, led by Protect Maine Votes.
Cited in a press release issued by the coalition Tuesday were Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry; Lance Dutson, chief executive officer of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center; former Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette; and former Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras.
LePage registered to vote in Waterville on the day before Election Day in 1982.
“One of the primary arguments made for the repeal of same-day registration is that people who register late don’t care, are lazy or are ill-informed,” said David Farmer, communications director for Protect Maine Votes, in the release. “But the fact is many of the state’s most influential leaders … have registered to vote close to Election Day. The day and time you register is not an indicator of your interest in the election.”
Dutson said he has acknowledged publicly that he has registered multiple times on the day of an election, but that doesn’t mean Maine should continue allowing it.