Report Shows Maine Voting System Inadequate to Support Election Day Registration
“Honor System” is not a reasonable way to manage 972,000 registrations
The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) released a report today showing that steps must be taken to protect the integrity of Maine’s voting system. The report explains that Election Day Registration (EDR) is not a viable practice in Maine considering the many inadequacies found in the current structure of Maine’s voting system.
The report, “Protecting the Integrity of Maine’s Elections: Election-Day Registration in Maine,” was authored by MHPC chief executive officer Lance Dutson, vice-president of policy and chief economist Scott Moody, and research associate Amanda Clark.
“Free and open elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and a free and open election is one where every vote counts and is not negated by votes cast fraudulently or in error.” Dutson said. “This report examines our current voting system and indentifies areas of concern and ways we can address them, because the people of Maine must be confident in the integrity of our electoral process.”
Key findings from the report detail several startling issues with Maine’s voting system:
- In 3 of the last 10 general elections, there were more registered voters than voting-age citizens in Maine.
- 178,000 registered voters are shown to have registered to vote on January 1, 1850.
- There was an 84% error rate in registrations recently reviewed by the Secretary of State’s Office.
- 1,452 active registrants are listed as being 211 years old.
- 2,209 active registrants are listed as having no street addresses.
MHPC found that of the EDR utilization in Maine’s 2010 election, Republicans and Democrats utilized EDR at basically the same rate, both representing 24% of total EDR usage. EDR is rarely used across the United States, where 93% of all U.S. citizens are required to register to vote in advance of Election Day. The report notes that EDR has had no perceptible impact on voter turnout levels. In fact, Maine’s three lowest years of voter turnout in the last 50 years have occurred since EDR was implemented in 1973.
“Election Day Registration, while not practical now, is a laudable goal for Maine,” said Dutson. “It’s a good goal to work towards, but first we need to implement a stronger and safer voting structure. Election Day Registration should not be allowed until we can address the many inadequacies in our voting system. Managing the integrity of 972,000 registrations through the Honor System is simply not a reasonable way to conduct our elections.”
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