By The PRW Staff on December 30, 2011

by Scott Keyes

This article was originally published by Think Progress. The Center for Media and Democracy is cross-posting it as part of our ongoing efforts to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its attempts to disenfranchise voters across the country.


VotingLast 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 to 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.


This article was originally published by Think Progress.

Comments

I don't know how his this has become an issue except for those who want to see those who are bussed in to vote and submerging the verification process because the election results must be certified within a certain number of days after the election.

If one is planning to vote, why would they not have registered, in advance? There are certainly enough opportunities available to register. Even when grocery shopping!

This is nothing more than an attempt to weigh down the system during the verification process. That way, more voters who are not legitimate voters will simply slip through the system because the system is over burdened with the last minute verification process.

Our form of Democracy depends on an informed voter. without it, we are all doomed. Does Planet of the Apes ring a bell?

'Bussed in.' Who is being bussed in? Do you think that anyone can just go to any voting booth and vote without showing ID that they are in the district? This is the USA. Do you know how many independent groups observe our voting results? We have people all over the world monitoring voting in other countries. But you believe these conspiracies about how a black president could not happen unless there was some sort of voting fraud. Did you get repulsed at ACORN or the lame attempt to fraud them into demise that actually worked because of morons like you that believe any propaganda as long as it fits your narrow view of reality?

Our rights are being sliced away and you side with apathy. Good job.

Really, to run a social and ID # against a voter form is not that hard. It takes a cop a matter of seconds to know if you are you and to get whole whole arrest record. BS! I call BS on you delmar. Who says we need to count all votes that day. Inauguration is more then 2 months later. I would rather have a full fair counted vote over time then the media hype for the day. Enjoy your BS.

HARDER DOESN'T MEAN WRONG.

Planet of the vote suppressors rings louder.
Can you name an election where unqualified voters were bussed in. You wouldn't use any code words would ya?

Tens of thousands of Mainers responded by petitioning for the matter to 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.

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.