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For Immediate Release
September 10, 2003
Contact: Chip Gavin

News Release

Maine election officials prepare '03 & '04 votes
Record attendance expected at state's 10th annual training

NEWRY - More than 250 municipal election officials from more than 150 cities and towns representing every county in the state will be preparing to conduct Maine's upcoming statewide elections in 2003 and 2004 when they gather for the Secretary of State's 10th Annual Elections Conference on September 11-12 at Sunday River in Newry.

"Maine's municipal election officials are heroes and heroines in our democracy, too often unsung ones," said Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky. "We have a remarkable record of voter participation, in part because people in Maine know their vote counts. Municipal election administrators make sure of it. They make Maine's elections happen."

The conference will focus on the new Help America Vote Act and companion changes in Maine law required to implement the federal act. The new law requires a range of changes in Maine, from establishing the state's first-ever computerized statewide voter registration system to implementing new identification requirements for voter registration applicants. The two-day training also will cover the details of voter registration laws and election day duties.

"This kind of training is an important opportunity for municipal election administrators to stay current with election laws and practices," said Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky. "Their knowledge and ability to conduct free and fair elections is crucial to our democratic process."

Biennial election training is mandatory for municipal clerks and registrars in Maine, and the conference is a major focus of those educational efforts. The Divisions of Elections in the Department of the Secretary of State and other organizations also provide additional training and educational opportunities for municipal officials.

The Secretary of State at the conference also will honor an individual with the 10th annual Lorraine M. Fleury award, named for the former state election director. Ms. Fleury and all but one of the past winners of the award are expected to attend the presentation Thursday evening. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the election process.