Turns out, a lot of “regular people” like election day voter registration

Yesterday, the coalition to restore election day voter registration had a very good day. They brought cartons and cartons of petitions to the Secretary of State’s office. These have to be checked so the People’s Veto can be certified and placed on the ballot in November 2011.

The campaign gathered more than 83,000 signatures, with 68,000 validated signatures delivered on Tuesday, August 8.

Once again, Maine’s Republican party chair juxtaposed supporters of election day registration to “regular people.”  And House Speaker Robert Nutting attributed the campaign’s efforts to “extreme left wing groups and individuals.”

One thing to keep in mind about all this: When the effort was launched, there were a number of people who thought it would not get off the ground. It just would be too hard to gather those signatures, particularly in time for the November ballot. They believed there just wasn’t the support in the Maine populace for election day registration.

Charlie Webster, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party who has helped wage several people’s veto campaigns, questioned whether the groups will be able to collect the signatures in time for this November’s election.

A poster at As Maine Goes said, “Charlie Webster and David Trahan made the peoples veto look easy. It wasn’t. Plus, we had public opinion on our side when we went after the Democrats “tax reform,” – nobody wanted those 100 new taxes. 1376 makes sense and people know it.” Another said, “Unless the D’s find someone with very deep pockets to hire a massive army of collectors, their chances of getting the job done within that 90 day window is very slim.”

Indeed, it is a remarkable accomplishment to have done this without having had the opportunity to get signatures from voters who are at the polls for an election. This required a lot of work, with over 1500 volunteers going door to door and standing outside post offices and at fairs and festivals.  And in November, we will see to what extent it “makes sense” to “regular people.”

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.