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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2005
Contact: Doug Dunbar
(207) 626-8404

Secretary of State Dunlap Urges Citizen Participation
in Upcoming Election

Information and Services Available Online and through the Department of the Secretary of State

AUGUSTA, MAINE – With less than four weeks remaining until the November 8, 2005 referendum election, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is urging all eligible Maine residents to learn about the questions that will appear on the ballot, to make sure they are registered to vote and to cast a ballot either in-person or through the absentee voting process.  In calling for maximum participation, Secretary Dunlap noted that Maine has a well-earned reputation for outstanding civic engagement and voter turnout.

“As a consistent leader in voter turnout, the State of Maine is recognized nationally for the importance its residents place on civic responsibility.  Although referendum elections typically don't attract as many voters as general elections, the people of Maine nonetheless have an opportunity to once again demonstrate their commitment to democracy and the electoral process,” Dunlap commented.

Dunlap explained that the Department of the Secretary of State has developed a Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election, in partnership with the Department of the Attorney General and the State Treasurer's Office.  It provides detailed information about the 7 questions, including 5 bond issues, that will appear on Maine 's statewide ballot.  The Citizen's Guide is available online by visiting the Secretary of State's website (www.maine.gov/sos).  Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Secretary of State through e-mail ( SOSOffice@maine.gov ) or by calling Maine 's Elections Division at 624-7650.

Information about registering to vote and the absentee voting process is also available online ( www.maine.gov/sos ), through e-mail ( SOSOffice@maine.gov ) or by calling the Elections Division.  Dunlap reminded Maine residents that eligible individuals can register to vote until, and including , Election Day.  He pointed out that during the final 20 days leading up to the November 8 th election, registration must be completed in person before the municipal registrar of voters—usually located at the town office or city hall.

Additionally, in order to increase access to information about government and the election process, the Secretary of State's office worked with other agencies and organizations to create Maine 's eDemocracy website ( http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/index.html ).  It provides substantial resources for all citizens, and may be especially useful for students, educators and new residents of Maine.  It can be easily accessed by visiting www.Maine.gov .

“With seven important questions on Maine 's ballot this November, and a variety of local issues and candidate races also being decided, voters have every reason to take part.  Every person and community in our state will be impacted in some way by the outcome of this election.  No one should sit it out.  I encourage everyone to participate,” Dunlap concluded.

REFERENDUM ELECTION VOTER TURNOUT HISTORY 1971 TO DATE

YEAR

EST. VOTING AGE
POPULATION

TOP QUESTION ON BALLOT

VOTES CAST FOR TOP QUESTION

% TURNOUT V.AP.

1971

601,000

Repeal Income Tax

253,654

42.21

1973

692,000

Maine Power Authority Act

247,125

35.71

1975

723,000

UM Dormitory Bond

149,203

20.64

1977

759,000

Repeal Property Tax

219,735

28.95

1979

791,000

Repeal Bottle Bill

268,167

33.90

1981

811,000

Bridge & Highway Bonds

235,000

28.98

1983

829,000

Repeal Moose Hunt

306,728

37.00

1985

854,000

Radioactive Waste Storage

172,491

20.20

1987

893,000

Maine Yankee

397,791

44.55

1989

918,926

Cruise Missile Testing

234,929

25.57

1991

929,809

Sensible Transportation Act

381,138

40.99

1993

934,105

Term Limits

236,517

25.32

1995

943,797

Limit Human Rights

415,500

44.02

1997

944,785

Maine Turnpike/Forest Compact

347,178

36.75

1999

962,601

Abortion/Medical Marijuana

417,654

43.39

2001

983,016

Affordable Housing Bond

218,779

22.25

2003

1,015,406

Casino

517,083

50.92