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Keyes begins: "Last month, Maine voters delivered a major rebuke to Gov. Paul LePage (R) and the Republican-held legislature when they approved a referendum restoring election day voting registration rights in the state. Earlier this year, state legislators passed a bill repealing the state's 38 year-old law allowing citizens to register at the polls on election day."

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, 12/21/11. (photo: RumfordMeteor.com)
Maine Gov. Paul LePage, 12/21/11. (photo: RumfordMeteor.com)



ALEC-Linked Group Revealed as Major Secret Donor In Referendum on Maine Voting Rights

By Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress

30 December 11

 

ast month, Maine voters delivered a major rebuke to Gov. Paul LePage (R) and the Republican-held legislature when they approved a referendum restoring election day voting registration rights in the state. Earlier this year, state legislators passed a bill repealing the state's 38 year-old law allowing citizens to register at the polls on election day.

Tens of thousands of Mainers responded by petitioning for the matter come to a referendum. Issue 1 was one of the most-anticipated votes on election day this year, with pundits watching closely to see how citizens would react to the Republican-led war on voting, which ramped up in states across the country this year.

Recognizing the referendum's importance, voting rights opponents poured money into the campaign to repeal election day registration. In fact, just two days after the state's campaign finance reporting deadline, a secret conservative donor funneled $250,000 into the race, allowing the No On 1 campaign to make significant TV ad buys in an inexpensive media market.

Per state law, however, the identity of donors must be revealed within 45 days after the election. In fact, the entire $250,000 worth of late money came from a single source: the American Justice Partnership.

The AJP is a conservative legal organization based not in Maine, but in Michigan. On their website, the group states they are fighting against "the scheming George Soros money machine" which is "trying to sabotage your right to vote," a claim apparently made without a hint of irony. Though the AJP doesn't disclose where its funding comes from, the Bangor Daily News notes that it has partnered with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past, a group that has been instrumental in the proliferation of voter ID laws across the country.

The AJP's secret $250,000 contribution ultimately accounted for over 78 percent of all the money raised by the No On 1 campaign. In other words, over three-quarters of the funding for opponents of election day registration in Maine came from Michigan. (This money was then used to run ads decrying "outsiders from other states" who were influencing the Maine election.) With Mainers of all stripes explaining to ThinkProgress why they cherish having the option to register at the polls on election day, it's not altogether surprising that the predominance of financial support for No On 1 came from out of state.

Though AJP's website correctly warns that "Your right to vote is at stake", it's groups like AJB and ALEC that are threatening that right in the first place. Maine voters stood up to the influence of voting rights opponents in November, however, passing Issue 1 by an overwhelming 61-39 margin and restoring election day registration in the Pine Tree State.

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Comments  

 
+34 # Tippitc 2011-12-30 21:35
HOORAY FOR MAINE VOTERS!! Could someone please explain to me how registering to vote on election day is "trying to sabotage your right to vote," - I don't get it. Neither did Maine voters it appears.
 
 
+30 # unitedwestand 2011-12-31 03:52
As you may already know, the right wing are such bold-faced liars and manipulators that they always accuse the other side of exactly what they are doing. They know that most people will not take the time or have any other information to find out otherwise. So glad it didn't work this time. Maybe the people are coming out of their slumber, we may have Occupy Wall Street protesters to thank and applaud for that.
 
 
+10 # CL38 2011-12-31 12:34
Somehow, in the twisted right wing mind, registering to vote on election day prevents Republicans from establishing permanent rule.
 
 
+11 # Obwon 2011-12-31 06:26
Perhaps you haven't read Rumsfeld: "The absence of evidence is evidence of absence", or some such trash logic. America out to lunch went for skewed logic and tried to build a "western friendly democracy" in a land with hot religious tensions bubbling just below the exterior calm surface. But, of course, they knew that it couldn't be done, which is why they kept "hot footing" from one reason to invade to another.

The picture that America is easily fooled emerged and thus we get these missives and offers that don't make any sense. Hey, what the heck, the nation is still divided over whether to reward or punish the people who caused the financial shipwreck.

Apparently, if someone steals your money, it's difficult to decide whether to call the police or help them to the car. Go figure!
 
 
0 # saltydog 2011-12-31 16:05
Quoting Obwon:
Perhaps you haven't read Rumsfeld: "The absence of evidence is evidence of absence", or some such trash logic. America out to lunch went for skewed logic and tried to build a "western friendly democracy" in a land with hot religious tensions bubbling just below the exterior calm surface. But, of course, they knew that it couldn't be done, which is why they kept "hot footing" from one reason to invade to another.

The picture that America is easily fooled emerged and thus we get these missives and offers that don't make any sense. Hey, what the heck, the nation is still divided over whether to reward or punish the people who caused the financial shipwreck.

Apparently, if someone steals your money, it's difficult to decide whether to call the police or help them to the car. Go figure!


God, reading Rumsfeld quotes makes me sick!
 
 
+20 # daddydt 2011-12-31 08:34
YES! Taking down the cynical right-wing campaigns against voting rights one at at time. Way to go Maine!
 
 
+9 # CL38 2011-12-31 12:32
Everything the right is doing under the shroud of secrecy is to ensure a permanent Republican Tea Party rule in the US.

Vote these people out before it's too late.
 
 
+3 # jimyoung 2011-12-31 19:21
We absolutely must eliminate hidden sources of donations.

I'd also like a hypocrisy scorecard for secretive groups like ALEC and their auxiliaries(out siders claiming to be trying to prevent outsiders from distorting the elections). What would they suggest for corrective actions/punishm ent for anyone caught doing what they were denouncing? How about making them publicly explain who the outsiders were that they were implying, and how much they donated compared to their amounts and timing?

We really should track the ads, etc, that take advantage of warped rules that let them spend so much right up to elections leaving time to fact check them, and its distorting affects on votes. How about having a second vote at least thirty days after the first, with only fact checks of the previous ads (no new ads)?
 

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