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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out how you can help.
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
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.
Reid Scher, Chairperson
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!
The Cumberland County Democrats’ next meeting will be Sunday, June 12, at 5 p.m., at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. Location and directions can be found at this link:
We will be focusing on current legislative and political issues, as well as looking toward 2012. Along those lines, we are going to be needing to hold elections for the 2012 convention committees. The committees on which we have representation are the Platform Committee, the Permanent Organization Committee and the Credentials Committee.
This is a great opportunity to have input into the future direction of the party and make a contribution to the success we will have in 2012. If you are interested in serving on a committee or have questions about the committees, please e-mail email@example.com. You don’t have to be present to be elected; we’ll put into nominations the names of those who express interest.
We’re looking forward to seeing you!