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AUGUSTA - Heading into the final weekend before the November 4 election, Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky is reminding Maine residents that they may still register and vote in Maine, thanks to the state's strong voter registration laws, which include election-day registration.
"If you are a first-time voter because you've just turned 18 or if you've simply never participated for whatever reason, I encourage you to register and vote," said Gwadosky. "Every vote counts."
To register and vote in Maine, you must be 18 years old or older, be a resident of Maine and be a citizen of the United States. Maine has worked hard to remove barriers to participation in the democratic process. The state has no cut-off date for in-person voter registration and no length of residency requirement.
"We're fortunate to have a high percentage of the eligible population already registered to vote," said Secretary Gwadosky. "It's important for everyone else to know they can still register and exercise the right to vote. Individuals can register until and on election day."
Secretary Gwadosky also is reminding voters of the availability of information about the election and about registering to vote. Materials are available on-line at www.Maine.gov by clicking on "How do I learn about the November 2003 election?" Information also is available from municipal election officials or by calling the State Division of Elections at 207-624-7650.
Among the available information is the Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election. That document includes the ballot questions and information about each of them. It also includes an explanation of the process for deciding the outcome of the vote on Question #1 on the ballot, which features three different choices, including a citizen initiative and a competing measure. The process itself is set forth in the Maine Constitution.
In brief, the process works like this: If Question 1A or 1B receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast for question 1, that option wins. If neither 1A nor 1B receives a majority of the votes cast, but one or both receives more than 33 percent of the votes, the one with the most votes will appear on the ballot by itself at the next statewide election for an up or down vote. If 1A and 1B each fails to receive more than 33 percent of the vote, then both options fail.