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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2005
Contact: Doug Dunbar
207-626-8404

Secretary of State Issues Election Reminders

Dunlap Hopes for Record-Setting Turnout

AUGUSTA , MAINE – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is urging all Maine voters to participate in next Tuesday's statewide Referendum Election. He issued final reminders on Friday to encourage maximum participation. In doing so, Secretary Dunlap noted that Maine is a national leader in voter turnout, and is coming off November 2003 and 2004 elections in which the state set new turnout records.

“It's important that Maine people continue to set the standard for voter participation. Our state has a rich history of civic engagement, and I'm hopeful that the upcoming election will further that tradition. Although referendum elections typically don't attract as many voters as general elections, the people of Maine nonetheless have an opportunity to again demonstrate their commitment to democracy and the electoral process,” Dunlap commented.

Voter Registration: Secretary Dunlap reminded residents it's never too late to register to vote in Maine . He explained that people can register until, and including, Election Day. During the 20 days leading up to the November 8th election, voter registration must take place in-person with the municipal Registrar of Voters. He indicated that people wishing to register should contact their town office or city hall. Additional information is available online at www.maine.gov/sos, through e-mail ( SOS.Office@maine.gov) or by calling Maine 's Division of Elections at (207) 624-7650.

Absentee Balloting: Dunlap also reminded voters that it's not too late to request an absentee ballot. Voters may request a ballot for themselves by calling their town office. Contact information for municipal election officials can be found on the Secretary of State's website or by calling the Elections Division.

Citizen's Guide to Referendum Election: The Department of the Secretary of State has developed a Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election, in partnership with the Department of the Attorney General and the State Treasurer's Office.  It provides detailed information about the 7 questions, including 5 bond issues that will appear on Maine 's statewide ballot.  Copies of the Citizen's Guide were sent to all municipalities. It is also available online at www.maine.gov/sos .

eDemocracy: Additionally, in order to increase access to information about government and the election process, the Secretary of State's office worked with other agencies and organizations to create Maine 's eDemocracy website ( http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/index.html).  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.

Political Signs: The unauthorized removal or destruction of political signs is a civil violation under Maine law (Title 23, Section 1917-A), and may carry a fine of up to $250. Specifically, the law states that “a person who takes, defaces or disturbs a lawfully placed sign bearing political messages relating to a general election, primary election or referendum commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of up to $250 may be adjudged.” The law does not apply to a person authorized by a candidate or political committee to remove signs placed by or at the direction of that candidate or political committee. It also does not apply to the landowner, or agent of the landowner, on whose property a sign has been placed. Additional information is available online at www.maine.gov/mdot/traffic-counts/public-signs.php or by calling the Maine Department of Transportation, Right of Way Maintenance Control.