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For Immediate Release
October 29, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Challenges Voters to Continue
Longstanding Tradition of High Voter Turnout
Absentee Voting and Same Day Voter Registration Combined with Sense of
Civic Duty are Keys to High Level of Voter Participation

With Election Day, November 5, 2002, a week away, Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky is encouraging Maine citizens to uphold Maine's longstanding tradition of exceptional voter turnout and is reminding Maine citizens that it is easy to register and to vote right up to and including election day.

Maine has generally lead the nation in voter turnout in presidential elections, posting the best turnout in 1992 and 1996 and missing the top spot by less than 2 percentage points in 2000.

"Maine has a long history of providing its citizens with exceptional ballot access. For nearly 30 years Maine law has provided for same day voter registration--allowing citizens to register and then to vote on election day," said Secretary Gwadosky. "As we have been discussing election reform issues at the national level, this is one of many initiatives that other states are currently seeking as a way to improve their voting processes," Secretary Gwadosky continued. "Maine citizens have a strong sense of participatory government that includes having a voice at town meetings and casting a ballot on election day."

"Additionally, voters can request an absentee ballot from their municipal clerk, if this is a more convenient way for them to vote prior to or on election day," said Secretary Gwadosky. "Recent changes in Maine law have made voting absentee even easier by eliminating the need for stating a reason or being absent from the polls in order to request an absentee ballot."

Voter registration ten business days before an election must be completed in person. Anyone wanting to register to vote should visit their municipal clerk or registrar.

Anyone requesting and returning an absentee ballot by mail should do so as soon as possible to ensure sufficient time for delivery. To be counted, a voted absentee ballot must be received by the clerk by 8:00 P.M. on election day. Any absentee ballots received after this time will not be counted.

Anyone wanting more information on absentee ballots or voter registration may contact their municipal clerk or the Division of Elections at 624-7650 or visit the Secretary of State's new web site for voter information at www.maine.gov/voteamerica.

Information on Referendum Questions Available on Web

The Secretary of State's web site also provides information on the three referenda questions on the ballot in the Maine Citizens Guide to the Referendum Election at www.state.me.us/sos/cec/elec/coming.htm. Two bond questions and one Constitutional amendment will be on the referendum ballot on November 5, 2002.