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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2006
Contact: Doug Dunbar
207-626-8404

Secretary of State Dunlap Issues Election Reminders
New 17 Year Old Voter Law Highlighted

AUGUSTA , MAINE – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is encouraging eligible voters to take part in the June 13th Primary Election.  He issued final reminders on Friday to encourage maximum participation.  In doing so, Secretary Dunlap noted that Maine is a national leader in voter turnout, and highlighted a new way for additional people to take part in the process.

“Our state has a rich history of civic engagement, and I’m hopeful that many voters will continue that tradition by casting a ballot in next Tuesday’s Primary Election.  Maine voters have an opportunity to once again demonstrate their commitment to democracy and the electoral process.  A new law will help to broaden the pool of eligible voters, by allowing many 17 year olds the first-ever opportunity to cast a ballot in a Maine election,” Dunlap commented.

New 17 Year Old Voter Law:  Secretary Dunlap highlighted a new Maine law that will allow certain 17 year olds to vote for candidates in the Primary Election.  As long as 17 year old individuals will turn 18 by the General Election on November 7th, and are otherwise qualified to vote, they can cast a ballot for candidates in next week’s Primary Election.  More information is available online at www.maine.gov/sos.

Voter Registration:  Dunlap reminded residents it’s never too late to register to vote in Maine.  People can register to vote until, and including, Primary Election day.  With only a few days remaining, however, voter registration must take place in-person before the municipal Registrar of Voters.  Individuals wishing to register should contact their town office or city hall.

Enrolling in a Party:  Dunlap added that individuals already registered, but not enrolled in one of Maine’s three officially recognized parties (Democrat, Republican and Green Independent), can still enroll in one of those parties and participate in the Primary Election.   Voters who are already enrolled in a party, however, can not now switch parties to cast a ballot in another party’s Primary Election.

eDemocracy:  Additionally, in order to increase access to information about government and the election process, the Secretary of State's office worked with other 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.

Political Signs:  The unauthorized removal or destruction of political signs is a civil violation under Maine law (Title 23, Section 1917-A), and may carry a fine of up to $250.  Specifically, the law states that “a person who takes, defaces or disturbs a lawfully placed sign bearing political messages relating to a general election, primary election or referendum commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of up to $250 may be adjudged.”  The law does not apply to a person authorized by a candidate or political committee to remove signs placed by or at the direction of that candidate or political committee.  It also does not apply to the landowner, or agent of the landowner, on whose property a sign has been placed.  Additional information is available online at www.maine.gov/mdot/traffic-counts/public-signs.php or by calling the Maine Department of Transportation, Right of Way Maintenance Control.