Backlash and the No on 1 campaign

 The restoration of election day registration in Maine

A few days ago, I noted that a janitor at my workplace told me the Friday before the election that he had been planning on voting for No on 1 but was then leanng to voting Yes.

 So how did he vote? I talked with him on Wednesday afternoon and he said he voted Yes, for preserving election day registration in Maine.

Why, I asked. Why did you vote Yes?

This is what he said:

1. He was annoyed that he could not vote early on Friday. Although the People’s Veto would not restore early voting, he was perturbed that his access had been restricted by the same people who legislated the end of election-day registration.

2. Upon thinking about the new law, he decided that a key argument regarding fraud was bogus. He believed the new registration period would do no better in combatting fraud.

3. He thought the ads about ethics, out-of-staters, and underming election laws were trying to fool people. He knew they weren’t true and they were offensive.

We see the sort of civic participation and engagement of which Mainers are proud. As David Farmer put it, even in an off-year, Maine people pay attention. Maine politics has norms which must be respected.

This fellow followed the issue and, based on his experience and knowledge, changed his mind. The negative, deceptive ad had a negative impact on No on 1’s cause.

While this case is most certainly anectodal and other data would be needed to know if this is a broader phenomena, it is instructive and suggestive.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.