Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The inconvenient voter registration...Not!

We've reached another mid-week and this time that is a signal that summer officially has only two full days remaining.  Fall arrives shortly after 5 AM Friday.  The forecast says today will be rather nice, but Thursday and possibly Friday will see some nice temperatures but they could be wet.

A couple of topics have me thinking this morning.  And they concern the upcoming elections.  There are three items on the state portion of the ballot, two of which concern gambling and one about repealing an election law passed in the last Legislature.

Legislators passed a change in Maine's election procedure which had allowed same-day voter registration.  The new law requires registration to take place at least two business days before an election day, effectively requiring potential voters to register before business closing on Thursday of the preceding week.

A group of mostly democrat organizations successfully petitioned the state for an  citizens' repeal of that change and we will get that choice this November.  Maine is one of only a small handful of states that allows same day registration and those against the change says that has resulted in more voter participation.  Changing the registration time period would, that group says, disenfranchise thousands of people wishing to vote,

I think that's a specious argument.  Mainers have all year to register and there are so many ways that registration can take place that no one can use the excuse they didn't have time.  Those people who own cars, as just one example, can register at the same time they register their cars.  People who move to Maine during an election cycle must register their cars in this state to become residents and that's a good time to register to vote.  Most people only have to register once unless they move. 

I recall when I moved to my present home I went to Town Hall to let officials know I was now here and that, among other things, I was responsible for the taxes.  I registered to vote in this town at the same time. 

What the registration change does do is give local registrars a chance to confirm residency.  As it is now with same day registration along with the hubhub on the voter places, there really is not such chance for checking.  That to me makes the chance for voter fraud to be great.  Does it happen?  I don't know and those against the change say none has ever been proven.  Under Maine law, once a vote is cast it is no longer challengeable thus negating any real chance of proof.

My name and my wife's name remained on the Portland voter list for several years after we left the city.  Someone so inclined could easily spot those names as not having voted and used them to cast an illegal ballot.  Did it happen?  We'll never know.

To my way of thinking the only people who will be disenfranchised or inconvenienced by the new law are those bent on an illegal act.  I will be voting "No" in November.

I also believe we should require an I.D. to vote.  I have to show one virtually every where else I do business.  Showing one on voting day should not be any different.  Not having to show one is just another potential, note that word potential not a real claim, for voter fraud.

I also will be voting "No" on the gambling items.  But I've rambled longer than I had planned on the voter issue so I'm putting this second part of my thinking off until another day.

While I have your attention, though, let me urge every Red Sox fan to "bite the bullet" and strongly yell, "Go Yankees!"


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