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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2006
Contact: Doug Dunbar
207-626-8404

Secretary of State Dunlap Urges Schools, Businesses and
Organizations to "Promote the Vote" until Election Day

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

AUGUSTA, MAINE – With five weeks remaining until the November 7, 2006 General Election, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap highlighted Maine’s “Promote the Vote” initiative on Tuesday and urged schools, libraries, businesses and other organizations to designate October as “Voter Registration and Election Awareness Month” throughout Maine.

Secretary of State Dunlap is encouraging all eligible Maine residents to learn about the candidates and 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 long-earned reputation for outstanding civic engagement and voter turnout.

“The State of Maine is a national leader in civic participation. Election officials across the country recognize that Maine residents take voting very seriously. We have consistently earned a ranking among the top states in terms of voter turnout. This November offers another opportunity to show the rest of the nation that Mainers are engaged in civic life and interested in our electoral process,” Dunlap commented.

PROMOTE THE VOTE: Maine businesses, schools and other organizations may sign up to participate in Promote the Vote by calling the Secretary of State’s office at (207) 626-8406 or e-mailing SOS.Office@maine.gov. Voting materials are sent to participants, along with instructions for helping students, employees, customers and clients to take part in the upcoming election. Materials include voter registration applications and brochures, as well as absentee balloting applications and guides.

MAINE’S STUDENT MOCK ELECTION: Elementary, middle and high schools are encouraged to participate in Maine’s Student Mock Election on November 2nd.   The deadline for registering has been extended to October 20th. Details are available on the Secretary of State’s website (www.maine.gov/sos). Information can also be obtained by calling (207) 626-8404 or e-mailing SOS.Office@maine.gov. Approximately 200 schools have registered.

VOTE IN HONOR OF A VETERAN: The Secretary of State’s office is once again offering Vote in Honor of a Veteran buttons to Maine residents who would like to encourage voting by wearing a button personalized with the name of a veteran. Buttons can be ordered without cost by October 31st by calling (207) 626-8404 or e-mailing SOS.Office@maine.gov.  

ONLINE VOTER INFORMATION: Individuals can receive information about registering to vote, casting an absentee ballot and locating their municipal election officials online at www.maine.gov/sos. They can also obtain a listing of state and county candidates, as well as the statewide ballot questions, through this website or by calling (207) 626-8404 or e-mailing SOS.Office@maine.gov.

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 7th election, registration must be completed in person before the municipal registrar of voters—usually located at the town office or city hall.

To increase access to information about government and the electoral process in Maine, the Secretary of State's office worked with other agencies and organizations to create Maine's eDemocracy website (www.maine.gov/edemocracy).  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 only five weeks left until the November 7th General Election, I hope many schools, businesses and civic organizations will join the Secretary of State’s office and local election officials in making voter information and services available to all eligible Maine residents. The outcome of this election will impact every person and community in our state. No one should sit it out,” Dunlap added.