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July 23, 2004
Maine's Promote the Vote Initiatives
Secretary of State Kicks-Off ‘100 Days to Election 2004’
AUGUSTA, MAINE -- Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky was joined by local election officials, members of the business community and service organizations at a press conference on Friday at the State House to highlight Maine’s Promote the Vote initiatives for 2004 and to kick-off a ‘100 Day Countdown to the General Election’. The comprehensive effort is designed to encourage participation in the electoral process.
“Maine has a tradition of strong voter turnout. We led the nation in two of the last three Presidential elections, and intend to be number one this November,” Secretary of State Gwadosky commented.
Secretary Gwadosky called on individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the state to help ensure maximum participation. To reach that goal, Maine ’s Promote the Vote coalition has developed projects and programs designed to increase citizen involvement. These efforts will enhance voter education, registration and turnout.
A number of projects that have proven successful in the past will be implemented again this year. They include Maine ’s Student Mock Election, the Vote in Honor of a Veteran Program and Maine Remembers Book (online version also available), Voter Information Brochures and Guides, and “I Voted Today” Stickers – with support of Maine Rotary organizations. Information about these projects is available online at www.maine.gov/sos.
Secretary Gwadosky explained that new initiatives are also underway to enhance awareness and to utilize technology. He unveiled Maine’s Election Countdown Logo. The logo is intended to send a clear, consistent and frequent reminder to Maine voters about the upcoming election and importance of voting.
“We’re pleased to announce that the Bangor Daily News, the Kennebec Journal, the Waterville Morning Sentinel, the Lewiston Sun Journal and The Times Record in Brunswick will be making use of Countdown materials. Some will use it regularly during the next 100 days; others will use portions in conjunction with news stories or editorials,” Gwadosky noted.
Additionally, many organizations, associations and businesses will utilize the Countdown or other Promote the Vote materials either directly or by sharing with their members. They include the Maine Association of Broadcasters, the Maine Credit Union League, Hannaford, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the Maine Bankers Association. The Countdown Logo, developed through the Information Resource of Maine (InforME), is available online at http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/promotethevote.html
Working with schools throughout Maine, the Secretary of State’s office has also launched a Youth Vote Media Project to encourage students to develop 30 second Public Service Announcements about the significance of elections and voting. A showcase of submitted PSAs is scheduled for early October at the State House, with selected PSAs distributed to television stations and other organizations for possible use prior to the election.
Continuing with the theme of technology, Secretary Gwadosky highlighted Maine ’s new eDemocracy website, which can be accessed at www.maine.gov. It’s a comprehensive collection of information and services that he hopes will not only educate, but also provide an avenue for greater citizen participation in civic life. It was developed through InforME.
Secretary Gwadosky also announced that his office will be joining with college and university officials, as well as the New Voters Project and other organizations, to conduct the most coordinated and comprehensive voter registration campaign ever targeted at Maine ’s campuses. A ceremony with the presidents of Maine colleges and universities to formalize the effort is planned for September.
Additionally, he noted that his office is working to support outreach efforts to individuals with disabilities, to first time voters, and to people who once voted but have stopped. Working with the Disabilities Rights Center , the League of Women Voters and many other organizations, the Secretary of State’s office has launched an ambitious voter education and registration effort.
“The people of Maine can be proud of their past accomplishments when it comes to voter turnout and civic participation. On November 2 nd, they will have an opportunity to make history once again by leading the nation,” Gwadosky concluded.