People For the American Way Foundation

Changes to voter registration forms problematic in Maine

Changes to Maine’s voter registration form have lead the Secretary of State’s office to halt production of the old version, thus leaving voter registration drives with limited options as they await the new release. Colleen Lachowicz, a Democratic candidate for State Senate, recalls her trip last week to pick some up.

I was told they only had 250 left so they said they could give me 20 […] And I said, ‘Could I have 50?’ And so I was able to get 50 of them. And they had me sign a paper saying they could give me 50. […] I’m just concerned that if there’s only 250 of these things left, I’m sure there’s more than 250 people that want to get registered to vote at this time.

Normally the office allows persons to request up to 1000 forms per week. Now those seeking large quantities are being told that all they can do immediately is print the federal voter registration application, placing a potentially serious financial burden on those carrying out voter registration drives.

The Maine Democratic Party alleges that Secretary of State Charlie Summers, also a candidate for US Senate, is disregarding his own policy in the interest of voter suppression:

This situation demonstrates a broader change going on at the Secretary of State’s office. Rather than working as hard as possible to encourage Mainers to vote and be part of the process, Charlie Summers is now placing the burden on the individuals and organizations by adding an extra step and extra expenses to the registration process in the midst of a presidential election season.

The Maine People’s Alliance has called on Summers to resign.

For more information, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.


112th Congress, Charlie Summers, Colleen Lachowicz, Maine Democratic Party, Maine Peoples Alliance, Policy Corner, public policy, Voter Registration, voter suppression, voting rights