Politics

Maine Governor Accused Of Voter Intimidation For Advising Students To Follow Law

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage is being accused of voter intimidation after telling college students they need to register in order to vote in the state.

Fliers distributed at Bates College, a liberal arts school in Lewiston, Maine, warn students that they would have to pay to change their residency and pay to register their car if they wanted to vote in the state.

The flyers and the outcry prompted LePage, who endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president in February, to clarify the laws and promise investigation to ensure that students do not vote in two states.

“Democrats for decades have encouraged college students from out of state to vote in Maine, even though there is no way to determine whether these college students also voted in their home states,” LePage said in a statement Monday.

“Casting ballots in two different states is voter fraud, which is why Maine law requires anyone voting here to establish residency here,” LePage added, welcoming “college students establishing residency in our great state, as long as they follow all laws that regulate voting, motor vehicles and taxes.”

“After the election,” LePage said, “we will do everything we can that is allowed under state and federal law to verify college students who voted here are following Maine law, which is clearly displayed on the Secretary of State’s website.”

“The governor’s statement seems designed to make college students afraid to vote,” Zachary Heiden, legal director for the ACLU in Maine, said in a statement. “Voter intimidation and harassment is illegal, and we call on the Department of Justice to investigate the intent of the governor’s comments.”

“College students who live in Maine have the right to vote in Maine, and they are not subject to different laws than anyone else. Many of these young people are voting for the first time in a presidential election. The governor should be encouraging that civic participation, not doing everything in his power to undermine it.”

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