Defending Democracy 101

Democratic Maine State Representative Joan Welsh of Rockport with her granddaughter and their ballot box display for the 2011 Lobster Festival Parade

Many of us recall that a year ago we were working with our Republican, Green and unenrolled neighbors to pass a People’s Veto of a part of LD 1376.  This was the legislative action in Maine that took away our right to register to vote up to and including Election Day.  We had been doing that in Maine when we needed to for 38 years with virtually no problems.

After many weeks of hasty petition gathering from voters across the spectrum, enough signatures were validated to put the question on the ballot for us all to vote on.  The People’s Veto passed very nicely in November with over 60% of the vote statewide and 66% in Knox County.  This week, Maine voters who need to may still register or re-register at the polls on Election Day.

This is an episode in recent Maine history that is worth remembering.  In November 2010, a Republican governor was elected, and Republicans gained control of the legislature.  A number of these individuals supported what analysts call voter suppression, regulations which make it harder for people to vote.  Voter suppression has been one of the agendas pursued by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization where legislative and corporate members draft model legislation to be introduced in statehouses around the country.  Maine is only one of many states where voter suppression measures have been introduced in recent years.  Eight Maine Republican legislators are members of ALEC; more have been key supporters of ALEC-linked bills.

For a chilling look at the history and scope of ALEC, watch “The United States of ALEC,” a Bill Moyers special released in late September 2012.  It is online for on-demand viewing.  A more Maine-specific eyeful is at /press-release-2012-apr-6.

Who was calling the shots in the 125th Legislature?


If you want to volunteer to help elect Democrats this fall, please come in or phone our Knox County Democratic Headquarters at 594-0075.  We are at 66 Maverick Street in Rockland, across from Hannaford.  Come in and get signs, buttons, candidate literature and other material.


Paid for and authorized by the Knox County Democratic Committee, Stu Thro, Treasurer

P.O. Box 452  Rockland, ME 04841

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