The Maine Secretary of State’s Office says a discrepancy in the results of a special state House election was caused by a clerk’s error and there is no evidence of fraud. The House District 19 recount was held Friday. Democrat Jean Noon of Sanford asked for the recount after she appeared to lose to Republican Matthew A. Harrington by 14 votes on Nov. 3. The Secretary of State’s Office then said Harrington actually won by 13 votes.
Lieutenant governors and secretaries of state from across the country are heading to Maine this week for their annual summer conference. The National Association of Secretaries of State conference, hosted by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, begins Thursday. The four-day event will be held in Portland. Dunlap’s office says that lieutenant governors and secretaries of state from 34 states are planning to attend.
Maine: LePage to propose adding lieutenant governor, dropping secretary of state | Bangor Daily News
Gov. Paul LePage wants to get rid of the secretary of state position and replace it with a lieutenant governor. The duties of the secretary of state, from running elections to licensing drivers, would come under the lieutenant governor, who also would be first in the line of succession to replace the governor. The governor’s office confirmed it is drafting legislation that would not only make that change to the state’s constitution but would change how two other constitutional officers are appointed. LePage wants the governor, not the Legislature, to name the attorney general and state treasurer. LePage has had numerous disagreements with the Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat who was elected by the Legislature. She is serving her third term, having been elected when Democrats held legislative majorities in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Despite an ongoing debate about the results of the election in Maine Senate District 25, majority Republicans in the Senate overwhelmed Democratic opposition to provisionally seat GOP candidate Cathy Manchester on Wednesday morning. Manchester’s opponent, Democrat Cathy Breen, was declared the victor by a 32-vote margin in an initial tally of votes after Election Day, prompting Manchester to request a recount. After the recount was conducted on Nov. 18, the result flipped, with GOP candidate appearing to have won by 11 votes.
Tim Mills told lawmakers Monday that the “depraved animal” who murdered his 19-year-old daughter in 2007 should not be allowed to vote while serving his time in prison. “It is reprehensible, offensive and unjust these criminals are able to vote under Maine law,” said Mills during a hearing before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. Mills said he took his daughter Aleigh to the voting booth every year to teach her about citizenship. She voted only once before she was murdered, he said. John A. Okie, 22, was convicted in 2010 of murdering his father, John S. Okie, and Aleigh Mills. He will be in prison for at least 50 years. Tim Mills testified in support of L.D. 573, which would prohibit convicted murderers and other Class A felons from voting while incarcerated. In addition to murder, Class A crimes in Maine include manslaughter and gross sexual assault. Maine and Vermont are the only states that allow felons to vote while they’re in prison.
A special commission studying Maine’s election system has given a firm thumbs down to the suggestion that Maine adopt voter ID. The Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine, which was appointed last May, released its findings today. Tom Porter has more. “This is an excellent report,” says Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Dunlap gives high marks to the Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine, which was appointed last May, and came to its findings after holding eight public hearings, “They worked very, very hard on it,” Dunlap says. “And it’s a reflection of some very, very honest work, based on feedback they got at their hearings.” Dunlap told members of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee that the he agreed with commission’s 4 to 1 vote to reject voter ID, a measure that would require voters to present identification before they cast a ballot.
Maine: Panel rejects voter IDs, backs early voting | The Portland Press Herald | Maine Sunday Telegram
A state commission has recommended that Maine reject any effort to require voters to show identification at the polls. By a 4-1 vote, The Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine said in a report that there is “little or no history in Maine of voter impersonation or identification fraud.” It also said such a law would slow down the voting process and could work to disenfranchise elderly, poor or rural voters, many of whom don’t have IDs or may not be able to travel far to get them. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine applauded the report, which also asks the state to establish an early voting system, in which residents would be able to cast ballots before Election Day. Early voting would require an amendment to the Maine Constitution, as is being proposed this session in a bill sponsored by state Rep. Michael Shaw, D-Standish. There is no pending legislation to require IDs.
An independent panel formed by a Republican official and charged with examining Maine’s electoral system has concluded that the state should not a implement voter ID system. “The Commission, by a 4 to 1 vote, finds that the negative aspects of a Voter ID law outweigh its potential benefits and recommends that a Voter ID system not be pursued in Maine,” read the report from the five-member panel. Former Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) — a backer of voter ID — put together the commission last year at the request of the Maine legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs. The Huffington Post received an advance copy of the report, which Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D) will present to the committee on Wednesday. In their report, the commissioners went through the pros and cons of implementing a voter ID law. Pros included the belief that voter ID would “provide an effective tool against voter impersonation” and the fact that such laws have already been implemented in dozens of other states. The panel ultimately concluded, however, that the potential drawbacks to Maine’s electoral system far outweighed any benefits.
Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers on Wednesday will announce the findings of a joint investigation into what he called the “questionable voter activity” of college students, and also whether non-citizens have successfully registered to vote. Summers launched his investigation in late July, a couple days after he was presented with information by Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster.
Webster suggested that 206 out-of-state students attending public Maine universities should be questioned and investigated for possible voter fraud. Specifically, the state GOP chairman wanted to know whether those students had established residency in Maine or whether they voted twice — in Maine and in their home state.
In the past, courts have ruled that students can consider a college dormitory their primary residence, which would allow them to vote in that community even if they are not full-time Maine residents.
Former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap asserted Monday that allegations of possible voter and identity fraud made last week by current Secretary of State Charlie Summers were resolved several years ago, shortly after they first surfaced. Dunlap said Summers would have learned that fact had he simply called him before gathering reporters and television cameras last Thursday to announce a broad investigation.
“I wish he had talked to me first,” Dunlap said in an interview Monday. “A little bit of homework prior to the press conference might have canceled the press conference.”
During that event, Summers referenced as the basis for his investigation a July 1 conversation with a Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee who expressed concerns about “noncitizens” trying to register to vote. The employee told Summers that she had brought her concerns to the Secretary of State’s Office under previous administrations and was told to disregard the activity. She also said she was advised to destroy evidence she had collected to support those claims.