Next Meeting: Sunday, June 24th, from 4:00 – 6:00 PM at Cumberland Town Hall

The Cumberland County Democratic Committee will be meeting on Sunday, June 24th, from 4-6 PM at the Cumberland Town Hall, 290 Tuttle Road in Cumberland.  We’ll have several speakers presenting regarding opportunities to contribute to victory in November and the need to begin our organizing efforts sooner than later.  We will also be electing a representative from Cumberland County to the Maine Democratic Party’s Rules Committee.  And, finally, at this meeting as at all meetings through Election Day, we’ll provide all candidates present with the opportunity to introduce themselves and make some brief remarks.

Let me know if you have any questions.  See you there!!

Reid Scher, Chair

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Light in the Darkness of Insanity

Driving home yesterday, thinking about how I wanted to describe the experience of the Democratic State Convention, I heard Elvis Costello (yes, my tastes in music are firmly planted in past decades and centuries…) sing about “searching for light in the darkness of insanity.”  That completely captured my experience this weekend.
The Convention was not only energizing, but provided that light time and again.  We heard from Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, who provide us with extraordinary representation in the House of Representatives.  Our party chair and vice-chair, Ben Grant and Janet Mills, have led us into a rebirth of the party, creating light from the darkness of 2010.  We heard from our Senate candidates, Cynthia Dill, Matt Dunlap, Jon Hinck and Ben Pollard, who provided us with their fantastic visions, one of which will lead us into the November election.  We heard from current and past legislative leaders, Hannah Pingree, Emily Cain and Justin Alfond, who not only provide great leadership today, but also promise a brilliant future for our party and state.  And Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland’s great speech was a wonderful launch into the general election campaign season.  And our party staff, led by Mary Erin Casale, did a fantastic job of running the convention, making this the best run of the 10 that I’ve attended.  There were too many others to cite, but I was struck with how fortunate we are to have such incredible leaders, with whom we will be victorious in November and lead Maine into a great future.
In this season in which we are constantly buffeted with the message that everyone who isn’t an independent is somehow a flawed partisan, we saw and heard the perfect response at the Convention.  We are blessed with great leaders who we need to be clear are principled and not just partisan for the sake of partisanship.  We need to take back the campaign narrative from one of partisanship to principled compromise.  We hear so much about breaking gridlock and compromise.  The problem is that, as anyone who has ever engaged in a successful negotiation knows, compromise is meaningless unless it’s based upon principle.  I believe that we need to be leaders in finding a successful path forward at the state and national levels.  But when we as Democrats negotiate and compromise, we need to be clear about what we stand for, what are principles are and how, in compromising, we are not selling out and deserting the poor and middle and working classes.  Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing from independents about how they will compromise without giving us even the slightest hint of what is important to them, what principles will govern compromise and where they will draw the line.  (Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest among us and Romney/Ryan/Republican proposed additional trillions of tax cuts anyone???)  At this convention, we adopted a platform and heard speaker after speaker tell the world what we stand for and what our party’s governing principles are, have been and will continue to be.  It reminded me of why I’ve been a registered Democrat for 40 years and how we have 21st century leaders who worthily inherit the mantle of great 20th century Democrats.
We heard much about the coming campaign season.  Calling this election critical is an understatement.  We’ve seen the damage done by Gov. LePage and the Republican majority in the Legislature, undoing years of progress.  We need to stop them now to protect the citizens of Maine and the place to do that is in the legislative elections.  We have an incredible campaign plan in place, with a wealth of data about what we need to do to regain a legislative majority.  But this is all predicated on volunteer efforts this summer and fall.  We will achieve victory in November, because of all of us working together, donating, making phone calls, going door to door, getting out the vote.
We also had county and state elections at the Convention.  Two were particularly noteworthy.  We had a hotly contested race for delegate to the Democratic National Committee.  Phil Bartlett was victorious and, along with Maggie Allen, will be representing us for the next four years.  Join me in warmly congratulating him;  I look forward to his representing us and working for victory nationally and in Maine.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sam Spencer.  Sam has represented Maine on the DNC for the past 8 years.  He has brought an extraordinary degree of dedication and loyalty as well as great effectiveness to this position.  I look forward to continuing to work with Sam and would encourage you to take the opportunity to thank and recognize him.
We elected representatives from Cumberland County to the Democratic State Committee.  We elected a strong delegation, who will provide excellent representation.  The new delegates are:  Pam Fenrich, Tom Foley, Tom Bull, Mike Tipping, Wayne Hollingworth, Jackie Sartoris, Tamsin Kemos, Rachel Hendrickson and Hallie Daughtry (whose daughter, Matthea, gave a rousing speech on behalf of her mother that firmly planted her in my mind as a rising and future leader.)
I’ve gone on too long and could go on further;  that’s how energizing, exciting, motivating, this Convention was.  I’m certain that this is going to be a fantastic and victorious electoral season, but I will only be proven right if we all pull together and are part of the winning effort.  There are lots of opportunities to contribute and participate.  Let me know how you’d like to join the effort.
Thanks!!
Reid Scher, Chair

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Next Meeting March 18th

The next meeting of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee will be held on March 18th. The meeting will be hosted by the Brunswick Dems and will be held at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. We’ll have a social hour from 4-5 PM and the business meeting will be held from 5-6 PM. Further information about the agenda will be provided.

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Next meeting Oct. 30

The next meeting of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee will be held on October 30th, at 4 PM, with social time before and after, at the Local Buzz. Jamie Wagner (… the Cape Elizabeth Democratic Chair…) and his partner have graciously offered to host the meeting. And, for those of you who are NE Patriots fans, the Local Buzz has televisions available and the Steelers – Patriots game will be on.

We’ll provide further information regarding the agenda, but important items will be elections for the treasurer, replacing Halsey Snow, who has resigned after several years of great service, for which we are extremely grateful, 2 positions on the Democratic State Committee and remaining vacancies for State Democratic Convention positions.

The following is the link to the Local Buzz: http://www.capelocalbuzz.com It’s very easy to find, on Rte. 77 in Cape Elizabeth.

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Yes on One

The summer signature drive went forward with amazing success, and now the People’s Veto on same-day voter registration is on the ballot! Which means it’s time for you to help with phone banking and contributions toward getting the votes needed to overturn Gov. LePage’s harmful measure. Visit protectmainevotes.com to learn more, or e-mail Jennie Pirkl (jennie@mainepeoplesalliance.org) to find out how you can help.

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People’s Veto Effort Launched – We Need Your Help!!!

We need your help now.  As the email below described, we are going to be working as part of a coalition to enact a  people’s veto of the repeal of same day voter registration.  We will be working to get this on the ballot this November.  In order to do so, the coalition members have the goal of collecting 71,500 signatures by early August.

The signature-gathering process will begin this Saturday, the 9th.  There is going to be a training at the offices of the Maine People’s Alliance in Portland, at 565 Congress Street, Suite 200, on Saturday, July 9, at 9:00 AM.  We would encourage everyone who is willing to volunteer and gather signatures to attempt to attend this training, to insure that everything is done properly.  Petitions will be ready, available and distributed at this meeting.  If you are unable to attend the training and are willing to volunteer to gather even a few signatures, please let me know and we’ll make arrangements to get petitions to you.  We encourage you to volunteer, even a couple of hours…Every signature that you gather gets us closer to our goal.

We are in the process of identifying coordinators for the various communities.  If you have an interest in helping coordinate the process, please let us know.  We’ll provide you with the list of coordinators for the various communities in the counties in a few days.

Please email me with any questions at ccdcchair@gmail.com.  Thanks for your willingness to help in this critical effort.  We’re looking forward to working with you!! 

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Training Saturday for People’s Veto Signature Drive

Hello Everyone,

We need your help now. We are going to be working as part of a coalition to enact a people’s veto of the repeal of same day voter registration. We will be working to get this on the ballot this November. In order to do so, the coalition members have the goal of collecting 71,500 signatures by early August.

The signature-gathering process will begin this Saturday, the 9th. There is going to be a training at the offices of the Maine People’s Alliance in Portland, at 565 Congress Street, Suite 200, on Saturday, July 9, at 9:00 AM. We would encourage everyone who is willing to volunteer and gather signatures to attempt to attend this training, to insure that everything is done properly. Petitions will be ready, available and distributed at this meeting. If you are unable to attend the training and are willing to volunteer to gather even a few signatures, please let me know and we’ll make arrangements to get petitions to you. We encourage you to volunteer, even a couple of hours…Every signature that you gather gets us closer to our goal.

We are in the process of identifying coordinators for the various communities. If you have an interest in helping coordinate the process, please let us know. We’ll provide you with the list of coordinators for the various communities in the counties in a few days.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your willingness to help in this critical effort. We’re looking forward to working with you!!

Reid Scher, Chairperson

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People’s Veto: Help preserve Maine voting rights!

Hello All,

By now I suspect you’ve heard or read about the effort being launched for a people’s veto of the repeal of election day registration. You’ll be hearing much more about this and I’m not going to go on endlessly about what a critical issue this is…but it is!!

To me, this represents why I have been a lifelong Democrat. What drew me to the Democratic Party 50 years ago (…yes, I started young…) was that the Democrats were and still are the party of the people. Nothing is more representative of this than the current people’s veto effort. Voting is the most fundamental right and obligation of a citizen of a democracy. Next week, I will have been a resident of Maine for 30 years, and one of the things that I’ve been most proud of is the regular high turnout in elections.

This is due, in no small part, to the fact that we haven’t created barriers to registration since the enactment of same-day registration 38 years ago. Repeal of this NOT a response to a problem. There have only been two identified instances of voter fraud during the duration of same-day registration.

While we have been told about how the town clerks are just overwhelmed with same-day registrants, the association of town clerks actually opposed the repeal and clerks have expressed great concerns about the negative and potentially angry reactions of people who will be turned away on election day, denied their right to vote.

We’ve heard vile allegations of fraud, completely unfounded and aimed only at creating a false anger about the issue. The truth is that this is part of a national effort aimed at disenfranchising voters and suppressing turnout. The most vulnerable among us, low-income, elderly and disabled individuals will be most affected by this appeal. Additionally, young people, who tend to be more mobile and move more frequently, will find themselves denied the right to vote in disproportionate numbers.

For all of these reasons, and as a statement of our principles, we will be participating in and working to achieve success with the people’s veto. None of us should have any illusions. While the issues are clear and there are no principled or rational reasons to oppose this, it is going to be a difficult hill to climb and require a great deal of hard work for us all.

The first step in this process is going to be getting on the ballot. In order to accomplish this, the coalition of organizations supporting the people’s veto is going to have to collect tens of thousands of signatures in a relatively truncated time frame. This is going to be a major, critical activity for us. We’re going to need the help of as many of you as can give even a little bit of time to obtain signatures on petitions. The first steps of the campaign are now being organized and we’ll be in touch shortly to let you know where and how you can volunteer and when training will be provided.

It is impossible for me to overstate the importance of this. In the soul-searching that went on after the 2010 elections, there was much said and written about the Democratic Party’s mission, values and how we can better act on and communicate them. THIS IS IT!!! This is where we take our stand in support of ALL the people of Maine and the values on which our country and state are built!!! We will need and be counting on your help in this effort.

We’ll be in touch shortly with next steps and to let you know how you can contribute to this critical effort. Please, let me know if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you and to success in keeping Maine a model of democracy.

Thank you.

Reid Scher, Chairperson

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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 at http://www.protectmainevotes.com/) 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.

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!

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Working for Democracy

By now I suspect you’ve heard or read about the effort being launched for a people’s veto of the repeal of election day registration.  You’ll be hearing much more about this and I’m not going to go on endlessly about what a critical issue this is…but it is!!

To me, this represents why I have been a lifelong Democrat.  What drew me to the Democratic Party 50 years ago (…yes, I started young…) was that the Democrats were and still are the party of the people.  Nothing is more representative of this than the current people’s veto effort.  Voting is the most fundamental right and obligation of a citizen of a democracy.  Next week, I will have been a resident of Maine for 30 years, and one of the things that I’ve been most proud of is the regular high turnout in elections.  This is due, in no small part, to the fact that we haven’t created barriers to registration since the enactment of same-day registration 38 years ago.  Repeal of this NOT a response to a problem.  There have only been two identified instances of voter fraud during the duration of same-day registration.  While we have been told about how the town clerks are just overwhelmed with same day registrants, the association of town clerks actually opposed the appeal and clerks have expressed great concerns about the negative and potentially angry reactions of people who will be turned away on election day, denied their right to vote. We’ve heard vile allegations of fraud, completely unfounded and aimed only at creating a false anger about the issue.  The truth is that this is part of a national effort aimed at disenfranchising voters and suppressing turnout.  The most vulnerable among us, low income, elderly and disabled individuals will be most affected by this appeal.  Additionally, young people, who tend to be more mobile and move more frequently, will find themselves denied the right to vote in disproportionate numbers.

For all of these reasons, and as a statement of our principles, we will be participating in and working to achieve success with the people’s veto.  None of us should have any illusions.  While the issues are clear and there are no principled or rational reasons to oppose this, it is going to be a difficult hill to climb and require a great deal of hard work for us all.  The first step in this process is going to be getting on the ballot.  In order to accomplish this, the coalition of organizations supporting the people’s veto is going to have to collect tens of thousands of signatures in a relatively truncated time frame.  This is going to be a major, critical activity for us.  We’re going to need the help of as many of you as can give even a little bit of time to obtain signatures on petitions.  The first steps of the campaign are now being organized and we’ll be in touch shortly to let you know where and how you can volunteer and when training will be provided.

It is impossible for me to overstate the importance of this.  In the soul-searching that went on after the 2010 elections, there was much said and written about the Democratic Party’s mission, values and how we can better act on and communicate them.  THIS IS IT!!!  This is where we take our stand in support of ALL the people of Maine and the values on which our country and state are built!!!  We will need and be counting on your help in this effort.

We’ll be in touch shortly with next steps and to let you know how you can contribute to this critical effort.  Please, let me know if you have any questions.  We look forward to working with you and to success in keeping Maine a model of democracy.
Reid Scher, Chairperson

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