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1996 News and Press Releases
from the
Maine Department of the Secretary of State

Bill Diamond, Secretary of State


To see the full text, click on the underlined words.
FLASH!
Click here to go directly to Election 96 information!
But for recount results, see below.

Motor Vehicle offices closing early for holiday
December 23, 1996

Coalition stresses holiday highway safety
100,000 reminders distributed on Turnpike today

December 20, 1996

Tax Cap initiative falling far short
Petitions contain maximum of 39,164 signatures

December 19, 1996

Electoral College convenes at 2 p.m. Monday
Event moves to House chamber under Diamond initiative

December 13, 1996

Motor Vehicles opening at Maine Mall
Secretary Diamond to visit new service center Dec. 19

December 13, 1996

Better ballot access laws proposed
Endorsed by Secretary of State, League of Women Voters

December 12, 1996

Secretary of State awaits 1997 petitions
Tax cap has no more than 7,700 valid signatures left

December 6, 1996

RECOUNTS FINISHED! -- Here are the results
November 13-21, 1996

Recount procedures described
November 15, 1996

Maine repeats as voting champ
Ranked #1 for turnout in 1996 Presidential election

November 7, 1996

Breakfasts with Bill planned across state
Diamond hitting road to meet & eat with breakfasters

November 7, 1996

New study says Maine has #1 democracy
Center for Voting and Democracy praises Pine Tree State

3 p.m. November 5, 1996

Secretary Diamond: "Go vote!"
Reminds residents they still can register to vote today

November 5, 1996

Diamond calls on voters to reach for record
Encourages people to pick a "Partner in Participation"

November 4, 1996

Mock Election records most votes ever
October 31, 1996, 5:30 p.m.

Truck safety board starts reviews soon
Process is result of laws aimed at tired truckers

October 31, 1996

485+ schools in Mock Election Wednesday
Candidates Baldacci and Young to speak at event

October 29, 1996

Motor Vehicle sites moving in Bangor
License renewal service to be available 7 days a week

October 25, 1996

Local schools to vote in Maine Mock Election
Democracy project biggest ever with 101,000+ people

October 18, 1996

Diamond to visit drive-thru voter registration
Nine McDonald's offer burgers, fries and democracy

October 9, 1996

Diamond aims for better ballot laws
Report underscores need for ongoing democracy project

October 1, 1996

Diamond reminds mall-goers to register to vote
Praises efforts of Maine Town & City Clerks Association

September 26, 1996

Diamond puts referendum guide on Internet
Hard copies also available of questions, texts, summaries

September 24, 1996

Diamond's actions upheld by court
Ballot production and distribution continues for November 5

September 20, 1996

November ballots will be ready
Diamond credits staff, says first ballots on their way

September 20, 1996

Secretary Diamond starts Constitution Contest
Students will get rare viewing of original Maine constitution

September 17, 1996

Local students win in Citizen Bee
1996 savings bond awards total more than $8,000

September 2, 1996

Maine to cut paperwork for truck drivers
International Fuel Tax Agreement benefits business

August 16, 1996

Second referendum election very possible
Secretary of State explains implications of fall vote

August 6, 1996

Smith honoree is civil rights heroine
Arkansan wins 5th annual Margaret Chase Smith award

August 2, 1996

Special building marks 25 years Saturday
State leaders celebrate Library, Museum, Archives

June 25, 1996

Diamond says new OUI law working
Repeat drunk driving offenses cut by more than 35%

Also: Details of Maine's enhanced OUI law
March 20, 1996

Court upholds Diamond on tax cap effort
Documents seized Friday at organizer's home in criminal probe

March 8, 1996

Diamond hails participation in primary
Yankee Day event boosts involvement by 300 percent

March 6, 1996

Diamond aims to make car registration easy
Task force legislation opens door to 24-hour at home service

January 29, 1996


December 23, 1996
Call: Chip Gavin
For immediate release
(207) 626-8406

Motor Vehicle offices closing early for holiday

All Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices in Maine will close at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 1996, as will most other state offices. No unscheduled Motor Vehicle services will be available.

Approximately 60 driver license road tests already are scheduled and will go forward in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor, as well as several other locations. All persons with a scheduled exam are being personally notified to attend their appointment.

Except for these already scheduled road tests, no other services will be available after noon on Tuesday. Motor Vehicles offices will not be open.

The Governor announced this week that all but essential state employees could go home at noon on Tuesday. The Department of the Secretary of State is providing the same consideration to its employees in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and throughout the rest of the Department.


December 20, 1997
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Coalition stresses holiday highway safety
100,000 reminders distributed on Turnpike today

Secretary of State Bill Diamond and other highway safety advocates joined together today to help remind holiday travelers not to drink and drive. The safety coalition is distributing approximately 100,000 printed reminders to Turnpike travelers today.

"We all want this to be a safe and happy season," said Secretary Diamond. "We're joining together today to remind people that alcohol-related crashes are preventable tragedies. Nobody has to drink and drive and we're hoping nobody will."

The individuals and groups participating in the project are Secretary of State Bill Diamond, the Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine State Police, Maine Sheriff's Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Portland Radio.

"If staying safe isn't enough reason not to drink and drive, we're also reminding people today that Maine has a tough OUI law," said Secretary Diamond. "The consequences can be severe. You can lose your license. You can end up in jail. You can have your car impounded. The fines can be very costly. Most importantly, again, you could harm or kill yourself or someone else."

The Maine Secretary of State is the chief Motor Vehicle official in the state and oversees driver licensing, vehicle registrations, driver education and other such issues.

Secretary Diamond delivered this highway safety message during an event with representatives of the other groups in the project. The event took place at 1 p.m. today at the exit 6 toll plaza on the Maine Turnpike.

Maine stiffened its OUI law in the summer of 1995 with a special focus on repeat offenders. The new law increased fines and jail sentences for violations, it changed the period for calculating repeat offenses from six years to a full decade, and requires OUI offenders to operate under a zero tolerance blood alcohol content if they get their license back. The Legislature also adopted a zero tolerance blood alcohol standard for underage drivers during the same legislative session.

Secretary Diamond said today that the new law appears to be having some effect in Maine.

In the 12-months after the more aggressive law was adopted on July 1, 1995, adult driver license suspensions for OUI violations increased 11 percent and suspensions for repeat offenses increased by an even greater amount.

                 First offense          Second+ offense          Total
                  suspensions             suspensions         suspensions

July 1, 1994 to  3,763 (71% of total)   1,543 (29% of total)     5,306 (100%)
June 30, 1995

July 1, 1995*    3,812 (65% of total)   2,071 (35% of total)     5,883 (100%)
June 30, 1996   1% increase from 94-95  34% increase from 94-95  11% increase
*The new law went into effect July 1, 1995.

"The new law really seems to be helping to target those people who aren't getting the message and are drinking and driving repeatedly," said Secretary Diamond. "That was a key goal of the task force that worked to develop the new law."

Also this month Maine received a B rating from the national Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which was a full grade better than the state's rating in 1993.


Dec. 19, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Tax Cap initiative falling far short
Petitions contain maximum of 39,164 signatures

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond announced today that an initial review of the citizen initiative on property taxes in Maine shows the effort is at least 11,967 signatures short of getting on the November ballot.

The effort must submit a total of 51,131 valid signatures by Jan. 23, 1997, to get on the ballot.

"Even if we count every single signature submitted this week - and it's extremely unlikely that every signature could be counted - this initiative still would need at least another 11,967 signatures to get on the ballot," said Secretary Diamond.

Signatures submitted so far for the tax cap citizen initiative are:

Maximum number of signatures first submitted in January, 1996, that still were valid on Dec. 17, 1996 when the latest signatures were submitted: 3,777

Maximum number of new signatures submitted Dec. 17, 1996 that could possibly have been valid (petitioners said they submitted 44,900 signatures): 35,387

The maximum number of signatures that could possibly have been valid on Dec. 17, 1996: 39,164

It is important to remember that both the old signatures and the new signatures have a shelf life of one year from the date they are signed. Of the signatures submitted in January 1996 only 3,777 signatures remained valid on December 17. The number of valid signatures from both the old and new batches will decline as time passes. By Jan. 23, 1997, the final date for submitting signatures for the 1997 ballot, almost none of the January, 1996, signatures still will be valid.

It also is important to remember that the initial review conducted this week showed a maximum of the 35,387 signatures submitted were certified by municipal officials. A further and more detailed review of individual signatures will show how many of those 35,387 actually can be counted. However, even if all of those signatures can be counted, that still leaves the effort with less than 40,000 valid signatures.

"At this point, there could be a lot fewer than 40,000 signatures, but there can't be any more," said Secretary Diamond. "Basically, this is a long way from getting on the ballot."

If this initiative submits more signatures before Jan. 23, 1997, in an attempt to reach the 51,131 signatures needed to get on the ballot, the number of valid signatures would have to be completely recalculated based on the date on which the final petitions are submitted. Only signatures which are valid on the date the final petitions are submitted can be counted.

Nine citizen initiatives currently are approved for circulation and could file signatures in an attempt to appear on the 1997 ballot. To get on the ballot, each initiative must submit valid signatures equal to 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. For the current citizen initiative efforts, that 10 percent requirement translates into 51,131 valid signatures.

The Secretary of State has 30 days from the Jan. 23, 1997, deadline to issue a ruling on whether each Citizen Initiative that files signatures will move forward in the process or has failed to submit enough valid signatures to move forward at that time.


December 13, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Electoral College convenes at 2 p.m. Monday
Event moves to House chamber under Diamond initiative

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today announced that the Electoral College for the State of Maine will convene at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, 1996, to conduct the official balloting for the President and Vice President of the United States of America.

This is the first time under an initiative from Secretary Diamond that the Electoral College will hold its convention in the chamber of the Maine House of Representatives. Previously, the convention was held in the Senate chamber.

Secretary Diamond proposed and succeeded in changing Maine election law to move the convention to allow more room for observers, particularly Maine's students. The effort was part of his ongoing Fostering Youth Involvement campaign.

"It's history being made and it's a terrific bit of government for students to see," said Secretary Diamond today. "I hope it will be another tool we can use to get young people interested in the world around them, their democracy and being good citizens."

More than 30 students from the Helen Thompson School in West Gardiner will be observing the event Monday in the House Chamber. The voting is a public proceeding.

An explanation of the mechanics of Maine's electoral college law is attached. In short, however, the popular vote on Nov. 5 determined who Maine's four Presidential electors would be. Then the electors convene and vote for the President and Vice President. The two ballots are cast separately during the ceremony.

This years presidential electors in Maine are:

First District   -     Joseph Mayo, Augusta
Second District  -     Sharon McIntyre, Ellsworth
At-large         -     Samuel D. Shapiro, Waterville
At-large         -     Burt Wartell, Portland

December 13, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Motor Vehicles opening at Maine Mall
Secretary Diamond to visit new service center Dec. 19

Secretary of State Bill Diamond formally will open the relocated Motor Vehicle branch office at the Maine Mall in South Portland at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 1996.

"Customers really like being able to renew their driver's license while they're doing their shopping," said Secretary Diamond. "Shopping or not, this site is extremely convenient and I think people are really going to be glad this site is here. I know we're glad to be here."

The full-service Maine Mall branch will begin providing service to Southern Maine customers at 8 a.m. Monday, December 16. This branch is being relocated from Saco, which will retain most motor vehicle services at alternative sites to the branch office. The relocation to the mall will give York and Cumberland counties two full-service branch offices each.

"The existing Motor Vehicle office in Portland can be really busy and this new Mall location will help relieve some of that," said Secretary Diamond.

A previous Motor Vehicle location offering only driver license renewal service at the Maine Mall closed about a year ago.

The new full-service Maine Mall site will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Motor Vehicle office has an entrance outside the mall near Macy's store and can open earlier than the mall itself.

Motor Vehicle services available at the Maine Mall will include written driver's tests, first-time driver's licenses, driver license renewals, duplicate licenses, state identification cards, duplicate cards, vehicle registrations (after excise tax is paid), commercial vehicle transactions, payment of reinstatement fees and voter registration applications. The only service not available at the Maine Mall branch will be road tests for new drivers.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is part of the Department of the Secretary of State. The Bureau's services are offered at 13 full-service branches and eight limited service sites across the state. The Bureau also runs two mobile units that travel to bring service to many of Maine's rural areas.

Maine has approximately 865,000 licensed drivers and 1.3 million registered vehicles.


December 12, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Better ballot access laws proposed
Endorsed by Secretary of State, League of Women Voters

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond and the League of Women Voters of Maine today are announcing recommendations to ensure that new political parties, independent political candidates and voters who do not belong to any political party are treated fairly in Maine.

"These changes will be good for Maine," said Secretary Diamond. "Voters here already have a tremendous record of public participation. This proposal, this package of recommendations, will help keep Maine's democracy vibrant and strong for many, many years."

The package of recommendations is detailed in the 89-page final report of Maine's Democracy Improvement Project. The eight-month project started in May, 1996, and was undertaken by the Secretary of State in cooperation with the League of Women Voters of Maine.

Among the most significant recommendations in the report is a proposal to change the so-called 5 percent law. That current law requires all political parties to win 5 percent of the vote in every presidential and gubernatorial election. The new law would require political parties to meet that 5 percent test only once every four years. Political parties such as Maine's Green Party would not have to run a Presidential candidate to remain a legally qualified political party in the state.

Secretary Diamond and the League of Women Voters of Maine are formally endorsing the proposals being unveiled today. When the project started in May, the League initially agreed only to help organize the project.

"We've been very impressed with the process and the quality of the recommendations it brought forward," said Sally Bryant, President of the League in Maine. "This proposal would be good for Maine and the League will urge the 118th Legislature to adopt it."

The final report of the Democracy Improvement Project does include the legislation to implement the projects recommendations. This legislation has been submitted by the Secretary of State for consideration by the 118th Maine Legislature. Copies of the report are available from the Office of the Secretary of State. That office may be reached by calling (207) 626-8406, by sending e-mail to chip.gavin@state.me.us or by writing to Maine Democracy Improvement Project, #148 State House Station, Augusta, 04333-0148.

"Democracy is about making sure that people are treated fairly under the law and that all voices get a chance to be heard," said Secretary Diamond. "This report is about making sure people get that chance here in Maine."

"I hope and believe the Legislature will give this proposal a fair hearing," said Secretary Diamond. "I also hope that other individuals and organizations - including Maine's new and established political parties - will join in supporting this package of recommendations. It is a fair and good plan, and it is time for Maine to act."

Democracy Improvement Project for Maine
Executive Summary of Recommendations

Endorsed by
Secretary of State Bill Diamond
and the League of Women Voters of Maine

  1. Modify the frequency of the 5% requirement from the current two-year cycle to a four-year cycle.
  2. Allow any registered voter to sign a petition to form a new political party so long as the voter is not enrolled in a different political party.
  3. Clarify the petition filing procedures for new political parties by adding a separate and earlier deadline for petitions to be submitted to local election officials before they are submitted to the Secretary of State.
  4. Allow the use of registered voters who are not enrolled in a political party to serve as election clerks on election day.
  5. Improve access to municipal lists of registered voters.
  6. Protect the use of the word Independent so it may be used only by candidates who do not belong to a political party.
  7. Declare a proposed political party to be a legally qualified political party whenever it first meets the 5 percent threshold requirement of collecting signatures or winning votes.


December 6, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Secretary of State awaits 1997 petitions
Tax cap has no more than 7,700 valid signatures left

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today said the Department is readying to review Citizen Initiative petitions that are expected to be filed between now and the 5 p.m. Jan. 23, 1997, deadline. Successful initiative efforts could appear on the ballot in November, 1997.

"Well-done citizen initiatives are an exciting part of the political process in Maine," said Secretary of State Diamond. "The issues that get on the ballot almost always attract a great deal of public attention. It's as direct as democracy gets."

Nine Citizen Initiatives currently are approved for circulation and could be filed in an attempt to appear on the 1997 ballot. To get on the ballot, each initiative must submit valid signatures equal to 10 percent of the people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. For the current citizen initiative efforts, that 10 percent requirement translates into 51,131 valid signatures.

One of the current initiative efforts previously submitted signatures in an unsuccessful attempt to get on the 1996 ballot. The campaign to cap local property taxes failed to submit enough valid signatures in that previous effort to get on the ballot. Tens of thousands of the submitted signatures were rejected in connection with a fraud investigation. Maine courts have since stated that it is beyond any doubt that thousands of signatures were altered.

Some of the old tax-cap signatures may be carried over and counted in the current effort, but no more than 7,722 of those previously submitted signatures remained valid as of Dec. 1, 1996. If the 1 percent tax cap effort files more signatures by the January deadline, then those old signatures and the new signatures will be reviewed. The lifespan of a signature on a citizen initiative petition is one year from the date the signature was signed. It is a running clock, so more of the signatures become invalid as more days pass.

The Secretary of State has 30 days from the Jan. 23 deadline to issue a ruling on whether each Citizen Initiative that files signatures will move forward in the process or has failed to submit enough valid signatures to move forward at this time.

"We always work hard to meet that deadline and will do so again this time around," said Secretary Diamond. "The staff does a very good job."


November 13-21, 1996
For immediate release
Call: Chip Gavin
(207) 626-8406

Recounts Finished! Here are the Results:

Time and Date of Recount
House      Candidate (Party)              Unofficial   Official   Disputed
District                                  initial      election   ballots
                                          results      results
9 a.m. Nov. 13
117        Baker, Christina L. (D)        1,908        1,917
           Farnham, Willard C. (R)        1,899        1,910        -0-

1 p.m. Nov. 13
48         Bull, Thomas (D)               2,390        2,446
           Hartnett, Robert R. (R)        2,350        2,353        -0-

9 a.m. Nov. 14
101        Hagerty, William J. (R)        1,673        1,687        -0-
           Tessier, Paul L. (D)           1,674        1,692

1 p.m. Nov. 14
40         Davis, Gerald M. (D)           2,630        2,666        -0-
           Fisk, Robert F., Jr. (R)       2,658        2,680

9 a.m. Nov. 15
61         Simoneau, Richard N. (R)       2,133        2,157        -0-
           Skoglund, James G. (D)         2,178        2,175

1 p.m. Nov. 15
92         Cowger, Scott W. (D)           2,167        2,165
           Guerrette, William G. (R)      2,140        2,139        -0-

9 a.m. Nov. 18
85         Bodwell, William E. (R)        2,143        2,151
           Boll, Anna J. (D)              2,092        2,100        -0-

1 p.m. Nov. 18
69         Gagne, Rosita (D)              1,983        2,003
           Tracy, Eleanor G. (R)          1,958        1,989        -0-

9 a.m. Nov. 19
73         Bolen-Morin, Debbie (D)        1,200        1,226        -0-
           Gerry, Belinda A. (I)          1,245        1,265

1 p.m. Nov. 19
80         Damren, Catharine L. (R)       2,417        2,405        -0-
           Fuller, Elaine (D)             2,480        2,479

9 a.m. Nov. 20
49         Benedikt, Edmund E. (D)        1,633        1,638        -0-
           Pinkham, Reginald G. (R)       1,725        1,731

1 p.m. Nov. 20
34         Gieringer, Thomas F., Jr. (R)  2,339        2,325
           Hoglund, Annette M. (D)        1,987        1,987        -0-

9 a.m. Nov. 21
4          MacDougall, Jay (R)            1,808        1,925
           McDermott, David M. (D)        1,760        1,859        -0-

9 a.m. Nov. 22
Judge of Probate, Somerset County
           Alsop, John (write-in)         2,120        1,403
           Corson, Neil (write-in)        2,118        1,331        2,416
           Blank Votes:                               14,309

November 15, 1996
Call: Chip Gavin
For immediate release
(207) 626-8406

Recount procedures described

AUGUSTA - Recounts are being conducted in a secure State Police building on Hospital Street in Augusta. This is the same facility where the 1995 recount of the safety-belt referendum election was conducted. Recounts are public proceedings and members of the media may attend to observe. The number of observers may be limited due to the size of the recount site.

State Troopers collect the ballots needed for these recounts. This is required by law. The ballots are stored in tamper-proof metal containers and are closed with specially numbered security locks and seals. State Police guard the ballots 24 hours a day.

In a recount, the candidates and the staff in the Division of Elections manually review each ballot to determine the official ballot tally. Recounts are requested based upon the unofficial initial results, sometimes called the apparent results. The candidates may revise these initial results based on the recount and their mutual agreement in determining the official election result.

A candidate who requests and receives a recount may withdraw from the recount, thus ending the process, at any time while the recount shows that candidate did not win the election. If, during the recount, the candidate requesting the recount overtakes the candidate who initially appeared to win the election, the candidate requesting the recount may not withdraw the request.

If a recount in a general election for the Maine House of Representatives produces enough disputed ballots to affect the election result, the House itself reviews the disputed ballots and resolves the election outcome. This process is set forth in the Maine Constitution and state law.

Disputed ballots in county races are referred to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for a final determination of the election if there are enough disputed ballots to affect the outcome.

A person requesting a recount may be required by law to make a deposit, depending on the margin of victory in the election. For example, if the margin between the two candidates in an election is less than 2 percent of the votes cast, then no deposit is required. If the margin is 2 percent to four percent, then a $500 deposit is required. If the margin is greater than 4 percent, then a $1,000 deposit is required.

Updates and results of the recounts will be available throughout the recount process by calling 626-8406. Midday updates may also be available upon request. The current schedule would finish all recounts by Nov. 21.

Click here to see the 1996 Maine recount schedule.


November 7, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Maine repeats as voting champ
Ranked #1 for turnout in 1996 Presidential election

AUGUSTA - Maine voters won the title for top turnout in the nation on Tuesday according to the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate in Washington, D.C. Maine also had the top turnout in the nation in the 1992 Presidential election.

"It's a great day for Maine's democracy," said Secretary of State Bill Diamond today. "It's really a tribute to the voters, the candidates, the local election officials and everyone who helps keep our tradition of public participation so strong."

The #1 ranking in turnout on Tuesday follows another study that named Maine has having the best overall democracy earlier this week. That study was done by the Center for Voting and Democracy. It considered voter turnout, competitiveness of elections and other factors.

"I really want to tip my hat to the Maine's voters and local election officials," said Secretary Diamond. "They're the folks who are in the trenches and who are willing to get involved with the business of democracy. They really have built a remarkable record of public participation."

Maine's voter turnout will be about 64 percent according to the rankings done by the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. Maine will conduct its own analysis once official state election results are available at the end of the month. No official voter turnout estimates will be available from the Secretary of State until that time. However, the final result is not expected to differ greatly, if at all, from the analysis done by the Washington, D.C. group.

"The turnout was different from my prediction, but I'll settle for being the best in the nation," said Secretary Diamond.

Maine bested the estimated national turnout of 49 percent by about 15 percentage points.

Secretary Diamond attributed Maine's high voter turnout to several things. First, the content of the ballot energized people to get to the polls. Second, Maine has a strong tradition of public participation and laws that make voting accessible. Finally, Maine works hard to promote voting through various statewide campaigns and local efforts aimed at registering voters and making sure everyone's voice is heard.


November 7, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Breakfasts with Bill planned across state
Diamond hitting road to meet & eat with breakfasters

Secretary of State Bill Diamond will be visiting seven early-morning eateries from Biddeford to Houlton in the coming days for some hardy food and hardy conversation with fellow diners.

"It's a good chance to answer questions about the Department," said Secretary Diamond. "Questions, concerns, and general comments are welcome. It will be a pretty casual forum."

"We'll just be having breakfast and talking with anyone who wants to stop by," said Secretary Diamond. "If my breakfast gets cold, I'll know it was a good morning."

The seven breakfast sites are in Bangor, Thomaston, Houlton, Auburn, Portland, Biddeford and Brunswick. A full schedule, along with a reproduction of the question/comment cards that will be available at each breakfast event, is available by calling (207) 626-8406.

"We're just like any other business," said Secretary Diamond. "We learn a lot by listening to our customers and that's what we'll be doing at these breakfast sessions."

The Department of the Secretary of State includes three Bureaus that offer a wide variety of services. A partial summary of those services would include:

  1. Bureau of Motor Vehicles: Processes truck and car registration, drivers licenses, commercial vehicle registrations, license plates and more.
  2. Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions: Oversees all state elections, the registration of corporations in Maine, Uniform Commercial Code filings in Maine, certification of notaries public, the State's boards and commissions, and more.
  3. Maine State Archives: Maintains all the State's permanent records, including the original Maine constitution, genealogical records, civil war records, photos, maps, state agency records and more.
"These services are the things we know best," said Secretary Diamond. "If somebody has an issue that deals with another part of State government, well do our best to help them, too."
3 p.m. November 5, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

New study says Maine has #1 democracy
Center for Voting and Democracy praises Pine Tree State

AUGUSTA - Maine has achieved the No. 1 spot in a new study that ranks the overall democracies in each of the 50 states based on a variety of criteria. Maine also was ranked in the top spot or among the top 10 states in several sub-categories in the study.

"It's another feather in Maine's cap," said Secretary of State Bill Diamond this afternoon. "Maine voters should be proud of their performance. They have established a remarkable record of public participation."

"Getting the news today is good timing since were in the middle of the election and turnout is looking very strong," said Secretary Diamond. "Another turnout record is possible today."

Maine is aiming for 75 percent voter turnout today as part of the states Promote the Vote '96 campaign. The campaign involved more than 85 individuals and organizations distributing tens of thousands of voter registration forms and other election materials. Several other projects intended to register voters and encourage turnout also are part of Promote the Vote '96 effort. Secretary Diamond has forecast the state will reach 74 percent voter turnout. Maine had the top voter turnout in the nation in 1990 and again in the 1992 Presidential election when turnout topped 73 percent of the states estimated voting age population. That 1992 mark was the highest in Maine since at least 1948 and possibly ever.

"I'm hoping this latest news will get more people out to the polls today," said Secretary Diamond this afternoon. "Polls are open until 8 p.m., so people can still register and vote."

Maine is one of seven states that allows people to register to vote and then vote on election day.

"These are important decisions being made today," said Secretary Diamond. "It's important that as many people as possible participate, so I hope people will vote. People who already have voted should call a friend or family member and make sure that other person votes, too."

The new democracy study cited above was done by the nonpartisan Center for Voting and Democracy, based in Washington, D.C. For more information, members of the media may contact the Center directly at (301) 720-4616 or Secretary Diamond at (207) 626-8400. The Center for Voting and Democracy was founded by former independent presidential candidate John Anderson and he remains the groups president.


November 5, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Secretary Diamond: "Go vote!"
Reminds residents they still can register to vote today

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond is reminding Maine residents this morning they still can register to vote today and then cast their ballot. Maine is one of seven states that allows residents to register to vote on election day and then cast a ballot.

"It's not too late to register and vote," said Secretary Diamond, who is visiting polling places around the state today. "Important decisions will be made today and we want everyone's voice to be heard. It really is important to get out and vote. I hope everyone who is eligible will vote."

"When you go to the polls, call up a friend or family member and make sure they are voting, too," said Secretary Diamond. "It's called Partners in Participation and it's one of the things were hoping will help Maine reach a record-setting voter turnout today."

The Partners in Participation project is part of Maine's Promote the Vote '96 campaign, which is aiming to keep Maine's democracy strong by encouraging public participation. More than 85 individuals and organizations have been involved in the Promote the Vote campaign. The campaign hopes to help Maine reach a voter turnout of 75 percent today. Secretary Diamond is forecasting a turnout of 74 percent of the states estimated voting age population on Tuesday.

"It's looking very strong so far and we want it to stay that way," said Secretary Diamond.

A turnout of 74 percent today would be the highest rate of voter participation in Maine since at least 1948 and possibly ever, exceeding the 73 percent record set in 1992. That 73 percent mark was the highest voter turnout in the nation in the 1992 presidential election. Maine also had the highest voter turnout in the nation in 1990 and was fourth best in 1994.

Also, a published news report today names Maine the most democratic state in the nation based on voter participation and other factors. The State News Service story cites a new study released by the nonpartisan Center for Voting and Democracy.

"Maine works hard at promoting voting," said Secretary Diamond. "Today the message is this: If you're not registered, go get registered and vote. If you're already registered, head to the polls and try to make sure one other person does the same thing."


November 4, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond calls on voters to reach for record
Encourages people to pick a "Partner in Participation"

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond on the eve of the 1996 election is calling on all voters to go to the polls Tuesday and is asking all voters to pick a Partner in Participation and make sure that person votes, too.

"If everyone who votes will make sure that just one other friend or family member also votes, it would be great for Maine's democracy," said Secretary Diamond. "Pick a specific person and make that person gets to the polls. Every vote matters."

Secretary Diamond also suggested today that Maine residents with telephone answering machines at home or at work change the recording to include a voting reminder in the outgoing message on their machine.

Both the Partners in Participation project and the telephone message reminders are part of Maine's Promote the Vote '96 campaign, which is aiming to keep Maine's democracy strong by encouraging public participation. More than 85 individuals and organizations have been involved in the Promote the Vote campaign. Tens of thousands of voter registration cards have been distributed. Many organizations are issuing various voting reminders to customers or employees. The campaign has a goal of helping reach a voter turnout of 75 percent Tuesday.

Secretary of State Diamond is forecasting a turnout of 74 percent of the state's estimated voting age population on Tuesday. That would be the highest rate of voter participation in Maine's history, exceeding the 73 percent record set in the 1992 presidential election. That 73 percent mark also was the highest voter turnout in the nation in the 1992 presidential election. Secretary Diamond on Monday also reminded state residents that Maine allows for election-day registration. Anyone who is not already registered still may register to vote and cast a ballot on election day. "Basically, there's no excuse not to vote in Maine," said Secretary Diamond. "Maine wants everyone to participate. Voting is the right thing to do and Maine has good laws that aim to make sure everyone can be heard."

For more information about voting in Maine, call Secretary of State Bill Diamond at 626-8400.


5:30 p.m. October 31, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8406

Mock Election records most votes ever

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today announced that a record-setting 490+ schools registered for the 1996 Mock Election, more than 300 of those participating schools reported their votes to the state headquarters and a record-setting 61,000+ votes were cast.

"Judging from the interest of the students and the number of schools that participated, I think we can safely call this years project a success," said Secretary Diamond. "The students get excited about democracy and they learn about how elections work. Plus, they get a chance to meet candidates and have some fun. That's a formula for a good teaching tool."

An estimated 500 students from 37 schools across Maine also attended a mock election night event in Bangor on Wednesday where election results were counted. Students gave speeches, performed skits and visited with Secretary Diamond, Congressman John Baldacci and candidate Paul Young. Bangor High School students worked as peer leaders to help coordinate the event.

"This project wouldn't be possible without the help of many educators and parents all across the state who coordinate local projects," said Secretary Diamond. "Thanks really are owed to those folks, the members of our state steering committee, the campaigns and candidates who participated, the students and the sponsors of the mock election night event."

All 50 states run a mock election. The statewide effort in Maine is coordinated by Secretary of State Diamond. The core of the program is the mock election which is conducted in schools on October 30. For many schools, the election is a culmination of an elaborate democracy education project. Parents also sometimes vote. Schools are asked to report their results to the Mock Election state headquarters. Maine also reports its results to the National Student/Parent Mock Election. Interim national results show more than 5 million votes being cast.

Corporate sponsors of the Maine Mock Election night event included the Bangor Daily News Charities, U.S. Cellular, Infotech, Channel 5 News, WAGM News, News Channel 13 and Coca-Cola. Valuable support also was provided by the National Student/Parent Mock Election.

For more information about the Mock Election statewide or to find out if a particular school participated in the project, members of the media may call (207) 626-8400. The Maine Mock Election results are attached. It is possible that a few additional schools may report election results, but no further updates will be provided to the media except by request.

Maine 1996 Mock Election Results

A record-setting year!

All three of these figures set Maine Mock Election records:

1. Number of schools registered to participate in project: 490+
2. Number of schools that reported election results: 303
3. Total number of votes cast: 61,000+

The Maine Mock Election results are:

President and Vice President               United States Senator

     995 (1.6%) - Browne & Jorgensen       20,448   (36.9%) - Brennan
  34,411 (55.5%)- Clinton & Gore            2,691    (4.9%) - Clarke
  14,774 (23.8%)- Dole & Kemp              29,156   (52.7%) - Collins
     512  (0.8%)- Hagelin & Tompkins        3,039    (5.5%) - Rensenbrink
   1,649  (2.7%)- Nader & LeDuke
   9,391 (15.2%)- Perot & Campbell
     257  (0.4%)- Phillips & Titus
  61,989          Total votes cast

First Congressional District        Second Congressional District

  13,603   (53.8%) - Allen          17,566    (63.8%) - Baldacci
  11,660   (46.2%) - Longley         2,896    (10.5%) - Saucier
                                     7,057    (25.7%)- Young

Citizen Initiative #1    Citizen Initiative #2    Citizen Initiative #3
(term limits)            (forestry practices)     (campaign finance)

26,132 (58.7%) YES       16,274 (34.9%) A         23,186 (52%) YES
18,409 (41.3%)  NO       23,520 (50.4%) B         21,418 (48%)  NO
                          6,892 (14.7%) C
For more information about the Mock Election statewide or to find out if a particular school participated in the project, members of the media may call the Office of the Secretary of State at (207) 626-8400.

National results also are posted on the Mock Elections homepage on the world wide web at {http://www.AllPolitics.com/candidates/mock.election}.

In Maine, it is possible that a few additional schools may yet report election results, but no further updates will be provided to the media except by request.


Student-Written News Release

For release: Immediate
Date: October 30, 1996
Contact: Secretary of State Bill Diamond

1996 Student Mock Election Day Event

BANGOR - Today, more than 101,000 people took part in Maine's 1996 Mock Election, which saw the best turnout yet for an extremely educational and fund event.

"I fell the Mock Election will be great because it's all about learning what the kids are thinking and even more because this is Maine's largest turnout," said Secretary of State Bill Diamond earlier today.

As students burst through the doors they immediately headed to each of the tables absorbing a multitude of information on the political spectrum.

The call center proved to be the hot spot of the mock election as calls poured in from hundreds of schools statewide.

The students heard from Paul Young, John Baldacci and Julie Winn, along with many other people and students who voiced their opinions are different candidates and ballot questions.

The most popular spot during the evening was the refreshment table, which answered many students favorite question, "Whens the pizza coming?" The pizza was just the right touch for all the students and adults to enjoy this fun-filled extravaganza that brought together students and politics.

Comments written and delivered by students during their Mock Election news conference in Bangor, Oct. 30, 1996.

Shawna DeRosiers, 7th Grade, Fort Kent Elementary School:
"I'm from Fort Kent Elementary School. On behalf of my school, I would like to thank the organizers of this year's mock election for inviting us down. Today we had our mock election. A total of over 500 students in grades K-8 voted. In the weeks before the election, students developed presentations and bulletin boards on the levels and branches of government, as well as the offices being challenged. They also made issue posters to be hung throughout the school. The mock election has been a huge success and we think it was well worth the 200 miles we had to travel to participate."

Peter Holman, Senior, Bangor High School:
"At Bangor High School, the voting today was run by members of the Senior Seminar, an interactive government class which has recently focused its efforts on this years Presidential Elections. The election was a huge success, with more than 55 percent of the school participating in the event."

James Mega, 10th Grade, Ashland Community High School:
"In our school, we used actual election booths and as close to regulation set up as possible. We had ... the town clerk of Portage Lake assisting us in setting up. Overall, our election went as well as could be expected with two soccer playoff games scheduled for today."

Joshua Bushman, 7th Grade, Hancock Grammar School:
"Students in grades K-4 voted for President only. Grades 5-8 voted for all issues and candidates. We closed off an area to vote in. At our school the election process was a big success. Many people were anticipating the election. I myself really enjoyed it. Many of my friends learned a lot about the elections. Our mock election was run by Mrs. Julie Grendel."


October 31, 1996
Contact: Garry Hinkley
For immediate release
(207) 287-8610

Truck safety board starts reviews soon
Process is result of laws aimed at tired truckers

AUGUSTA - Maine's Motor Carrier Review Board will begin its review of trucking companies with repeated safety violations when the board next meets on Dec. 10. The Board was created as part of the Legislative response to concern about fatigue among truck drivers on Maine roads.

"We want any unsafe companies to get safe or get off the roads," said Secretary of State Bill Diamond. "The Board has worked hard getting ready to do its job. Now it's time to get to it."

The Board includes representatives from large and small members of the motor carrier industry, the forest products industry, the insurance industry and Parents Against Tired Truckers. The Board has spent the past year reviewing statistics, researching data and writing its operating rules. The Board's existence, membership and actions are authorized by laws passed in 1995.

Depending on what it finds during a review of any particular company, the Board may recommend that the Secretary of State take action against a trucking company. The recommendations may include the suspension of a trucking companys right to operate in Maine.

"We know there are lots of very safe trucking companies in Maine, but were prepared to use our authority if it's necessary," said Mark Hutchins, Chair of the Board.

The Board will review trucking companies with a special emphasis on each organizations comprehensive safety records. Any safety violations involving logbooks, hours of service, weight regulations and vehicle defects will be a special concern.

"We'll be looking for these types of violations and because companies that disregard State and Federal safety laws like these could be more of a threat to the motoring public," said Hutchins.

The Board will address only those Maine and non-Maine carriers with the most significant motor carrier violations history, according to Garry Hinkley, the Director of the Division of Commercial Vehicles in the Department of the Secretary of State.

"The law creates a system in which trucking companies will be reviewed by citizens and other truckers, rather than state regulators," said Hinkley. "Carriers under consideration for suspension will have an opportunity to bring extenuating circumstances to the Boards attention. In addition, a carriers full range of appeal options is preserved."

The Board has developed a rating system that takes into account the type of violations and the carriers Maine miles. The Board will review those carriers with the most troubling ratings, according to Hutchins, the chair of the Board.

"The goal is to make Maine's highways safer for everyone by fairly and consistently applying the rating system and the Boards expertise," said Hutchins. "The Board is hopeful that its actions today and in the future will remind all trucking companies to follow safety rules."

Motor Carrier Safety Board Members

Member, Representing

Mark Hutchins - Chair, Hutchins Trucking Co.
Steven Izer, Parents Against Tired Truckers
Bruce Gray, Gray Transport
John Finnegan, Macomber, Farr & Whittem
Dale Hanington, Maine Motor Transport Association
Ronald Hutchins, Maine Professional Drivers Association
George Parke, Parkeway Transport


October 29, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

485+ schools in Mock Election Wednesday
Candidates Baldacci and Young to speak at event

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today announced that more than 485 schools and 101,000 people are signed up to participate in Wednesday's 1996 Mock Election, a nonpartisan democracy education project. It is Maine's biggest Mock Election ever.

Schools from all across the state will be reporting their mock results to mock election headquarters at the Bangor Civic Center from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Hundreds of students from 35 schools are registered to participate in the event itself in Bangor. The event will include a student-run news conference, presentations, refreshments, a student-run phone bank for election results, and other many activities.

The Honorable John E. Baldacci and the Honorable Paul Young, candidates for the second district congressional seat in Maine, also are scheduled to speak. All senate and congressional campaigns have been invited to have booths at the event and many will have such displays.

A tentative agenda for the candidates and additional events on Wednesday is available by calling 626-8406. The media is welcome at this event. Also, members of the media may call 622-8406 to find out if a particular school is participating in the voting or the event on Wednesday. Lists of schools also will be available at the Mock Election site.

This statewide effort is coordinated by the Secretary of State and a volunteer steering committee of democracy advocates and educators. A list of steering committee members is attached. The core of this program is a mock election conducted at all schools on October 30. Students and others will vote and report their results that day to the Mock Election state headquarters. Maine, in turn, will report its results to the National Student/Parent Mock Election. CSPAN2 and CNN may air the national mock election event and results on the evening of October 30.

Participation in this project is free to Maine schools. All 50 states run a mock election program. Maine won an award for its 1994 statewide mock election. Slightly more than 300 schools participated in the 1994 project. Many schools have elaborate projects in conjunction with the vote. Several schools won national awards for their local projects in 1994.

When schools in Maine register for the Mock Election, they also are asked to estimate how many people they expect to vote at their school. This year, 485+ schools reported they expect more than 101,000 people to participate.

"It's the help of lots of dedicated people that really makes the Mock Election work," said Secretary Diamond. "The teachers and other educators who do the work in the schools, the parents who support the project, the steering committee members who help direct the project, the sponsors of the Mock Election night event and the many others who help out."

The emphasis of the Mock Election is education, not election results.

"It's not about winning, it's about learning," said Secretary Diamond. "The Mock Election is an important lesson in good citizenship and public participation. We don't want young people to be scared by the ballot box, we want them to be excited about voting and democracy. Anybody who has participated has seen how well it works. Students really seem to love it."

Voters in the mock election may be students, teachers, parents and others. Exactly what kind of program a school conducts is left to the creativity and judgment of local organizers.

"We always want to help a local school," said Secretary Diamond. "But the energy and innovation that come from local classrooms really is amazing. It's great."

For more information about the Mock Election event in Bangor, to find out if a particular school in your area is participating in the project, or for general information please call the Office of the Secretary of State at (207) 626-8400.

Maine Mock Election 1996

Coordinated by
Secretary of State Bill Diamond

Steering Committee
Donna Fransen - Bangor Daily News
Sally Bryant - League of Women Voters of Maine
Kevin Keough - Maine Republican Party
Joe Brooks - Bangor Daily News
Jim Betts - Maine Democratic Party
Kimberly Mooney Murray - League of Women Voters of Maine
Al Smith - Common Cause of Maine
Gaye Grant - Maine Parent Teacher Association
Jim Smith - Bangor High School
Betsy Fitzgerald - Erskine Academy
Trudi Schneider - League of Women Voters of Maine
Charles OLeary - Maine AFL-CIO
Greg Gerritt - Maine Green Party
David Wing - Maine Principals Association
Mary MacFarland - Maine Student Council
Ronald Barker - Maine School Management Association
Steven Crouse - Maine Education Association
David Ezayha - Bonny Eagle High School

Mock Election night event sponsors
Bangor Daily News
Infotech Inc.
Coca-Cola Company
U.S. Cellular
Channel 5 News
News Channel 13
WAGM - TV Channel 8


October 25, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Motor Vehicle sites moving in Bangor
License renewal service to be available 7 days a week

The Department of the Secretary of State will be relocating service centers next week when it closes and opens several offices in Bangor and Brewer.

"It's going to be great," said Secretary of State Bill Diamond, who oversees the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. "We're basically expanding a very convenient mall location in Bangor and opening a 7-day a week site for drivers license renewals in Brewer. I think its good news."

Secretary of State Bill Diamond will visit the new Bangor facility at the Airport Mall at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 29. He also will visit the new Brewer site later that morning. A full description of the service locations and changes is included below.

"The new Brewer location is a good example of what private-public partnerships can accomplish," said Secretary Diamond. "I know customers in other parts of the state have really loved 7-day-a-week service."

Customers give high marks to the Motor Vehicle service centers in Bangor. In customer comment cards, the quality of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles service in Bangor has earned a positive ratings of 96 percent. The new sites will have improved parking, more convenient hours and better space for customers to take exams or conduct their other Motor Vehicle business.

The main Motor Vehicle office in Bangor is the second busiest in the state, conducting approximately 120,000 transactions, 3,000 road tests and 350 hearings annually. Statewide, Maine has approximately 865,000 licensed drivers and 1.3 million registered vehicles.

To provide service to those hundreds of thousands of customers, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles operates 13 full-service offices and eight additional license renewal centers around the state. The Bureau also operates two mobile units that travel to provide service in many of Maine's communities which are far from a fixed Motor Vehicle office. "We're really just rearranging services in Bangor," said Secretary Diamond. "But I think it's going to be a valuable improvement and will feel like a service expansion to our customers."

Service changes in Bangor-Brewer
State Bureau of Motor Vehicles

1. OPENING:
---What: A new full-service branch office.
---Where: The Airport Mall on Union Street in Bangor.
NOTE: Customers should use the Griffin Street entrance to the mall when visiting the Motor Vehicle office.
Opening date: Monday, October 28
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
Available services: take a driver exam, get a first-time license, renew a license, get a state identification card, get a duplicate license or ID, register a vehicle, register to vote, more.

2. OPENING:
---What: A license renewal center.
---Where: Rite-Aid at North Brewer Shopping Center, 405 North Main Street, Brewer
Opening date: Tuesday, October 29

Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Available services: drivers license renewals only

3. CLOSING
a. Full-service branch on Stillwater Avenue
b. License renewal center at Airport Mall. (This license renewal center is located across the hall from the new full-service center which is opening in the Airport Mall)
Closing date: Both will be closed effective Monday, October 28.


October 18, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Local schools to vote in Maine Mock Election
Democracy project biggest ever with 101,000+ people

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today announced that more than 470 schools and an estimated 101,000 people are signed up for the 1996 Mock Election, a nonpartisan democracy education project. It is Maine's biggest Mock Election ever.

"The Mock Election is all about teaching young people the importance of democracy and voting," said Secretary Diamond. "It's a real hands-on project and it's very popular with students, teachers and parents."

The statewide project is coordinated by the Secretary of State and a volunteer steering committee of democracy advocates and educators.

The core of the program is a mock election conducted at all schools on October 30. Students and others will vote and report their results that day to the Mock Election state headquarters. Maine, in turn, will report its results to the National Student/Parent Mock Election. CSPAN and CNN are expected to air the national mock election event and results on the evening of October 30.

Participation in the project is free to schools. All 50 states run a mock election program. Maine won an award for its 1994 statewide mock election. Slightly more than 300 schools participated in the 1994 project. Many schools have elaborate projects in conjunction with the vote. Several schools won national awards for their local projects in 1994. When schools in Maine register for the Mock Election, they also are asked to estimate how many people they expect to vote at their school. This year, 470+ schools reported they expect more than 101,000 people to participate.

"Maine wouldn't have this kind of successful Mock Election without the help of lots of dedicated people," said Secretary Diamond. "The educators who do the work in the schools, the parents who support the project, the steering committee members who help direct the project, the sponsors of the Mock Election night event and the many others who help out."

The emphasis of the Mock Election is education, not election results.

"It's not about winning, it's about learning," said Secretary Diamond. "The Mock Election is an exercise in good citizenship. It's a lesson in democracy and it's a good one. By starting now, we hope these young people will be lifelong voters."

Voters in the mock election may be students, teachers, parents and others. Exactly what kind of program a school conducts is left to the creativity and judgment of local organizers.

"We always try to be in a position to help a local school," said Secretary Diamond. "But the creativity and enthusiasm this project generates in the classroom really is amazing."

Some activities being offered this year in conjunction with the Maine Mock Election are:

Mock Election Night Event: Hundreds of students already have signed up for this now-traditional convention-like event where students staff the Mock Election phone bank and tabulate results. The media is welcome at this event. The gathering will happen from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 30 at the Bangor Civic Center. Secretary of State Bill Diamond will attend the event. Also, all candidates for the United States Senate and U.S. Congress in Maine have been invited to participate. Also, Maine's Governor and two current Senators have been invited to participate. This event is sponsored by the Bangor Daily News, Infotech Inc., Newschannel 13, Channel 5 News, WAGM-TV, Coca-Cola and United States Cellular.

Partners in Participation: This is a buddy system for democracy in which any two people may sign a pledge sheet promising to make sure their partner votes. The partners can be two children, a child and an adult, or two adults. Pledge sheets have been provided to all schools in the Mock Election.

First Vote: This is an in-class curriculum and videotape for students who are eligible to register to vote. (You must be 17 years old in Maine). This material has been made available at no cost to high schools upon request. First Vote is produced by People for the American Way and is used in hundreds of high schools across America.

Study Circles: The Roundtable Center for Deliberative Democracy is offering special facilitator and study circle training to a limited number of schools. A study circle is an alternative model of communication to some more familiar and more adversarial models. Study circles focus on dialogue rather than debate.

Constitution Contest: Secretary Diamond is offering schools the opportunity to win a rare invitation to visit the vault where the Maine Constitution is stored and to see the original document. This contest requires students to submit posters or essays on varying themes depending on their age.

Virtual Voting: Most schools will report their mock election results by telephone, but some schools may report their results over the Internet. Also, some schools are using the Internet to research the election or to talk with other schools.

To learn more about the mock election or to find out if a particular school in your area is participating in the project, please call the Office of the Secretary of State at (207) 626-8400.


October 9, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond to visit drive-thru voter registration
Nine McDonald's offer burgers, fries and democracy

Secretary of State Bill Diamond will visit McDonald's in southern and western Maine on Thursday as nine of the restaurants conduct a special one-day voter registration effort at drive-thru service windows.

The one-day drive-thru registration effort is the latest program under Maine's nonpartisan Promote the Vote '96 campaign, which aims to help the state reach a voter turnout of 75 percent this year. Ten thousand voter guides and registration cards have been printed just for Thursday.

Maine had the highest voter turnout in the nation in 1990 and again in the 1992 Presidential election. In 1992, turnout reached 73 percent of the estimated voting age population.

Residents who get a registration card at McDonald's may complete and return the cards to the participating restaurant on Thursday. On or after Thursday, voters also may mail or deliver their voter registration card directly to their own municipal registrar or to the Secretary of State.

Eligible residents may register to vote in Maine up until and on election day if they register in person before their own local voter registrar. Registration cards delivered by mail or collected and submitted by somebody other than the voter must be received by the appropriate municipal registrar no later than the close of business on October 21, 1996.

Secretary Diamond will visit many of the participating McDonald's, all of which are owned by Mr. Al LeClerc of South Paris. Some of Secretary Diamonds scheduled stops are:

     10 a.m.    Lewiston     1240 Lisbon Road
     11 a.m.    Auburn       128 Center Street
     3 p.m.     N. Windham   Route 302
Secretary Diamond's remaining schedule is not set, but the other participating McDonald's are:

     South Paris     136 Main Street
     Jay             Jay Plaza, Jay Hill
     Rumford         Route 2
     Auburn          Auburn Mall
     Farmington      Intervale Road
     Lisbon Falls    Mid-Town Shopping Center, Route 196

October 8, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Court again upholds Secretary of State
Says wording of ballot question is appropriately done

AUGUSTA - A Kennebec County Superior Court ruling this week affirmed Secretary of State Bill Diamond's wording of a new citizen initiative question regarding pesticides in Maine.

The October 7 court ruling was the second recent victory for the Secretary of State regarding the wording of ballot questions. An earlier Sept. 20 ruling had upheld the Secretary of State's decision not to interfere with the Legislature's constitutional authority to place question 2B on the Nov. 5 ballot. That earlier ruling is being appealed by the plaintiffs. This week's decision upheld the Secretary's wording of the new and separate pesticide initiative.

"We work diligently to make sure the questions are as clear and accurate as possible," said Secretary Diamond. "The court has recognized the scope of the Secretary of State's authority and the quality of Maine ballot questions with these two recent decisions."

The new citizen initiative on pesticides will ask: "Should spraying pesticides from the air or putting pesticides in Maine's waters be a Class A crime?"

The organizers of the initiative are in the process of getting final approval to collect signatures to put the proposal on a future ballot. Final approval for them to begin collecting signatures could come at any time after they submit a printer's proof of the actual petition. The petition will contain the already approved question, the legislation and other legally required elements.

In its decision this week, the court dismissed claims that the pesticide question is misleading:

"There is no possible issue of that type of confusion with this question. Any voter who understands they wish to support the proposed pesticide regulations, even encountering the question for the first time, would unquestionably vote 'yes'. Those opposed would unquestionably vote 'no'."

In its decision, the court this week refused to rewrite the Secretary of State's questions and rejected all the lawsuits claims against the Secretary of State.

"I am gratified," said Secretary Diamond on Tuesday. "It's important that our ballot questions be clear and accurate. This lawsuit tried to say that this pesticide question didn't belong on the ballot, but the courts have rejected that claim. This question is very clear and accurate."


October 1, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond aims for better ballot laws
Report underscores need for ongoing democracy project

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today said he expects Maine's Democracy Improvement Project to issue its final report and recommendations on ballot access laws in Maine before the end of the year.

"We have record-setting voter turnouts and great voting laws," said Secretary Diamond. "Maine usually gets an A+ when it comes to democracy. The Democracy Improvement Project is part of our effort to keep it that way."

Maine had the highest voter turnout in the nation in the 1990 election and again in the 1992 Presidential election when turnout reached 73 percent of the state's voting age population. Maine's Promote the Vote '96 campaign aims to help Maine reach 75 percent turnout this year.

The Democracy Improvement Project - a joint effort of the Secretary of State and the League of Women Voters of Maine - is reviewing ways to update laws that govern the participation of unenrolled voters, nonparty candidates and third parties in Maine's democracy.

"We all want Maine's democracy to be as strong as possible, so the Democracy Improvement Project is looking beyond voter participation to ballot access and related issues," said Secretary Diamond. "We're aiming for recommendations that will make a real difference."

A newly released report may underscore the need for the Democracy Improvement Project effort. The new report, published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, gives Maine a grade of just below average for its state laws regarding access to the ballot.

"It's always good to have another point of view for a project like this," said Secretary Diamond. "Some of the Brennan Center rankings are curious, but we definitely would rather have more information than less. In any case, I think it's good for us to conduct this review."

Maine's Democracy Improvement Project started in May, 1996. The League agreed to help the Secretary of State solicit and collect input on updating Maine's laws. Secretary Diamond suggested four changes in state ballot access laws as a starting point for public discussion and the committee's consideration. The League has reserved the right to support the project's ultimate recommendations, but has taken no position at this time.


September 26, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond reminds mall-goers to register to vote
Praises efforts of Maine Town & City Clerks Association

Secretary of State Bill Diamond today reminded mall-goers that the Maine Town & City Clerks Association will conduct a voter registration drive at the Maine Mall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

"Its really a great opportunity for people to register," said Secretary Diamond. "The individual clerks and their association deserve a lot of credit for their dedication to Maine's democracy."

The 10 municipal clerks and other election officials leading the drive at the mall are Deborah S. Cabana, Brunswick; Debra M. Lane, Cape Elizabeth; Klara M. Norton, Cumberland; Fran Smith, Falmouth; D. Brenda Caldwell, Gorham; Meredith Clark, Portland; Yolande B. Norton, Scarborough; Linda C. Cohen, South Portland; Rita L. Bernier, Windham; and Patricia A. Merrill, Yarmouth.

"In Maine, you can register to vote on election day but it's better to register early," said Secretary Diamond. "If people are at the mall on Saturday, I hope they will stop at the clerks' table and register to vote if they're not already registered. It's a very convenient way to register."

Any eligible Maine resident may complete a voter registration card at the registration drive in the mall's center court area. Registration is not limited to the residents of the participating clerks' communities. The clerks also will have absentee ballot applications available on Saturday.

Secretary Diamond is helping to organize and support voter education and outreach efforts across the state as part of the Promote the Vote '96 campaign. Secretary Diamond provided materials to the municipal clerks to conduct the registration effort at the Maine Mall in South Portland.

Additional news about voter registration and other Promote the Vote '96 efforts will be available in the coming weeks, including the names of organizations and individuals who are helping Maine by participating in this nonpartisan democracy education and outreach program. Invitations to participate in the Promote the Vote '96 effort already have been sent to hundreds of organizations. Thousands of voter registration cards have been distributed. To participate, organizations may contact the Secretary by calling (207) 626-8406 or by writing to #148 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333-0148.

Promote the Vote '96 seeks to encourage people to register and vote. The project aims to help Maine reach a record-setting 75 percent voter turnout in the election on Nov. 5, 1996. Maine has a remarkable tradition of public participation. The state was first in the nation for voter turnout in 1990 and again in the presidential election in 1992 when turnout reached 73 percent.


September 24, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond puts referendum guide on Internet
Hard copies also available of questions, texts, summaries

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today announced the "Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election" is available this year for the first time on the World Wide Web.

"This is good information and I think people will find it valuable," said Secretary Diamond. "The electronic access really increases the availability of this information. It's a good thing."

Secretary Diamond today also began distributing hard copies of the 1996 guide to the state's major media outlets, municipal clerks, the state's public libraries and other places.

The complete 74-page booklet includes the questions, full legislative texts and summaries of all eight items on the Nov. 5, 1996, referendum ballot. The booklet, which is prepared by the Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Attorney General, also includes additional information.

The electronic version of the booklet is a condensed version of the hard copy. The electronic version can be seen on the Elections 96 site on the Secretary of State's homepage. The web address is {http://www.maine.gov/sos/sos.htm}. The homepage includes the Secretary of States news releases and variety of material from the Department, along with Election 96 information.

Hard copies of the Citizens Guide can be requested through the web site, by phone (287-4186) or in writing. The mail address is Division of Elections, #101 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0101. Hard copy supplies are limited.

Providing these guides through the new electronic initiative, along with the traditional paper copies, is part of the Maine's Promote the Vote '96 campaign. This campaign seeks to help Maine reach a voter turnout of 75 percent on Nov. 5, 1996.

Maine had the highest voter turnout in the nation in 1990 and again in the 1992 Presidential election. In 1992, turnout reached 73 percent, the highest turnout in the state since at least 1948 and possibly longer.


September 20, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond's actions upheld by court
Ballot production and distribution continues for November 5

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond prevailed today on all counts of a lawsuit which unsuccessfully challenged the preparation of ballots for the Nov. 5 election. The lawsuit had been filed by Lawrence Lockman, et al., against the Secretary of State.

"The court decision is clear and convincing," said Secretary of State Diamond. "The ballots were prepared properly. The rest is up to the voters."

In the court decision Friday, Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Donald Alexander rejected all of the plaintiff's claims and said the Secretary of State had acted properly in preparing the ballots. The lawsuit specifically had challenged Question 2B, which is the competing measure that is on the ballot at the direction of the Maine State Legislature.

"There is no abdication of authority in his preparing ballots with the legislatively drafted question," said the justice, who read his 7-page written decision from the bench.

Secretary Diamond also today said that hundreds of thousands of ballots are printed and already being distributed for the November 5 election. Maine will print approximately 1.5 million ballots overall for the Nov. 5 election. Secretary Diamond credited the staff at the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions with a job well done for getting Maine's ballots ready in less than two weeks from when the competing measure was finalized. A new release from earlier today, which includes more ballot statistics and information, is available upon request.

"We will continue to print and distribute the ballots," said Secretary Diamond. "It's important that we meet the legal deadlines and make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote will get their chance to vote. Having ballots is pretty fundamental to having the election."

"I'm not sure the Justice's decision leaves much doubt about whether an appeal would succeed," said Secretary Diamond. "We're just going to continue getting ready for the election."


September 20, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

November ballots will be ready
Diamond credits staff, says first ballots on their way

AUGUSTA - Despite circumstances that seriously altered Maine's normal election preparation schedule, Secretary of State Bill Diamond today said the initial absentee ballots all will be delivered by early next week. All other ballots will arrive as they should for the Nov. 5 election.

"Two weeks ago we still didn't know what was going to be on the ballot. Today - after a lot of hard work by the state elections staff - we can say that it will get done. The ballots will be there. We're even aiming to set a voter turnout record." - Secretary of State Bill Diamond.

"Elections don't just happen on their own. Just a few weeks ago we weren't sure this election would happen. Two weeks ago we still didn't know what was going to be on the ballot," said Secretary Diamond. "Today - after a lot of hard work by the state elections staff - we can say that it will get done. The ballots will be there. We're even aiming to set a voter turnout record."

"All of this work will be invisible to the voters, but it's important to know that Maine has never prepared an election this way before," said Secretary Diamond. "It takes hard-working and dedicated employees to get a job like this done. They deserve a lot of credit."

"The staff in the Division of Elections has worked long hours - including nights and weekends - to get the ballots done and done right," said Secretary Diamond. "We used new technology and a lot of plain hard work to get all the ballots ready. Everybody pitched in. The Division of Corporations staff, other employees in the Bureau, the Division of Elections staff, the ballot printer, the U.S. Elections computer folks - everybody worked as a team to get the job done."

"We've got a lot left to do, but we're confident it's going to get done," said Secretary Diamond. "I'm glad I can say today that Maine will be ready to have a free and fair election. Everyone who wants a ballot and is eligible to have one will be able to get one."

Maine must print more than 1,480 different individual ballots and specimen ballots. Different kinds of ballots are needed because there are different Congressional, Legislative and County candidates on the state ballots, depending on where a voter lives. Different kinds of ballots also are needed because towns and cities use several different kinds of voting machines.

A total of about 1.5 million ballots will be printed for the election. After printing, all the correct ballots must be distributed to all the correct polling sites around the state. Maine has more than 500 towns, cities and plantations. Each place must get the correct type and number of ballots.

The new BallotRight System being used by Maine is provided by United States Elections Corporation of West Chester, Pa. The system allows the state to create camera-ready ballots in-house using the same database on which candidate filings are maintained. This PC-based system is now used in 15 states and in Canada.


September 17, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Secretary Diamond starts Constitution Contest
Students will get rare viewing of original Maine constitution

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond on Citizenship Day today invited students across the state to submit a poster or essay in Maine's new Constitution Contest for a chance to win a rare viewing of the original Maine constitution.

Secretary Diamond kicked off the contest with Maine State Archivist Jim Henderson and students from the Helen Thompson Elementary School in West Gardiner. The contest is open to students in grades K-12 in Maine. Schools that are participating in Maine's Mock Election program will receive special notices of the constitution contest.

"It's a pretty rare thing, to see the real State of Maine Constitution," said Secretary Diamond. "I was an educator for a long time and I've been Secretary of State with custody of the constitution for the past eight years, and today is the first time I've seen the document."

The constitution contest will have four categories with one winner selected from each group:

Category 1 and 2 entries must be submitted on paper or poster board no larger than 22 inches by 28 inches. Category 3 entries may not be longer than 500 words. Category 4 entries may not be longer than 1,000 words. Entries must be received by the Secretary of State no later than October 18, 1996. Entries may be sent to Secretary of State Bill Diamond, Constitution Contest, #148 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0148. Entries will be narrowed to a final field and the Maine Mock Election steering committee will help judge those contest finalists.

Students will enter the contest on an individual basis, but winning students will earn an invitation for themselves and their immediate classmates to visit with the Secretary of State and view the original Constitution at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. Each classroom of students will be invited to its own showing of the document in November or December, 1996.

The individual students who submit the winning entries also will win $100 savings bonds and will be allowed to travel down the elevator and help open the vault where the constitution is protected. The constitution is kept in an underground vault in the Maine State Archives in a room accessible by a secure elevator.

The Maine Constitution Contest is one of a variety of programs that are part of Secretary Diamonds Fostering Youth Involvement (FYI) initiative. FYI programs are intended to help teach lessons of good citizenship and the importance of voting.

"Maine has a strong tradition of democracy," said Secretary Diamond. "Our state was tops in voter turnout in 1990 and in the presidential election in 1992. We may see the biggest turnout ever this year."

"But this tradition of participation isn't automatic," said Secretary Diamond. "If we want our communities and democracy to remain strong, we must share these important lessons with our students. We want them to value democracy. We want them to vote."

Other FYI projects include the Maine Citizen Bee and the Maine Mock Election. More than 285 schools and 49,000 people already have registered for the 1996 Mock Election, which takes place on October 30. Additional current FYI programs include the First Vote program, which is designed to help register 17 and 18-year-old people to vote, a study circle project on democracy and elections being undertaken with the Roundtable Center for Deliberative Democracy, and Partners in Participation, which is a pledge program or buddy system that encourages people to remind each other to register and vote.

The Maine Constitution was drafted in 1819. Delegates met for three weeks in October of 1819 in Portland to hammer out a state constitution, a document strongly rooted in political independence, religious freedom and popular control of government. The President of the convention was William King, a prominent Bath merchant and shipbuilder who subsequently became Maine's first governor. (Extracted from Maine Almanac (1980) by Jim Brunelle.)

Secretary Diamond kicked off this contest today because it is Citizenship Day. This day is set aside by the U.S. Congress to recognize the day on which the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787. This day was originally called Constitution Day.

For more information about the Maine's democracy, the Constitution Contest or any other FYI program, please call 626-8406.


September 2, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8406

Local students win in Citizen Bee
1996 savings bond awards total more than $8,000

Secretary of State Bill Diamond has announced that 45 Maine students will receive more than $8,000 in U.S. savings bonds in the coming weeks for their participation and performance in the 7th annual Maine Citizen Bee this year.

More than $55,000 in U.S. savings bonds have been awarded to Maine students in the 7-year history of the Citizen Bee in Maine, including more the $8,000 this year alone. Savings bonds are sponsored by private contributors.

"Teachers and the volunteer officials tell us it's a great program," said Secretary Diamond. "I'm always impressed by the students. They come from all over the state - 11 counties this year - and they are very sharp. These students are willing to get involved and that's a lesson for a lifetime."

The Citizen Bee is an education project that teaches the important lessons of democracy, public participation and community involvement by encouraging students to be well-informed about the world around them. More than 20 Maine high schools from York to Madawaska participated this year. Students are awarded savings bonds based on their performance. The Citizen Bee is coordinated by Secretary of State Diamond as part of his Fostering Youth Involvement program.

Maine's participation in the New England Championship was sponsored by the Blue Alliance Mutual Insurance Company. This year's state championship awards were sponsored by MBNA New England. The regional awards in Maine were sponsored by Dexter Shoe Company, Fraser Paper Limited, NYNEX, Maine Yankee, Bangor Daily News Charities and Richard E. Dyke Associates.

The Maine Citizen Bee this year had three levels, with the top students at each level advancing to the next round of the competition. Four regional in-state events were held in April, the state championship was held in May and the New England Championship in Connecticut in June.

"The parents, sponsors, teachers, volunteer officials, legislators and the many other Citizen Bee friends are crucial to the program," said Secretary Diamond. "The Bee couldn't happen without all that help. It's really what makes the Citizen Bee work."

A list of local winners in the regional, state and New England Championship is available from the Secretary of State.


For immediate release
Call: Garry Hinkley
August 16, 1996
(207) 287-8618

Maine to cut paperwork for truck drivers
International Fuel Tax Agreement benefits business

Secretary of State Bill Diamond announced today that Maine truck drivers will face less paperwork and have an easier time doing business under a new plan that calls on truckers to pay fuel tax to a single state, rather than to every state and province where they drive.

Maine joins this project - the International Fuel Tax Agreement or IFTA - on Jan. 1, 1997. More than 3,000 Maine-based truck operators already have received information in the mail.

"Maine will be one of 60 states and provinces in this compact," said Secretary Diamond. "It really will make life easier for those in the trucking industry."

"The idea is for drivers to pay fuel taxes only in one place," said Secretary Diamond. "Without this agreement, drivers would have to pay taxes in every state where they travel, have special stickers for everywhere they go and file quarterly tax reports in every state where they travel."

"Now, unless they travel outside the compact area, drivers will only have to contact their home state to get stickers, file tax reports, pay taxes or get tax refunds," said Secretary Diamond.

"Without this new system, truckers would continue to be required to file quarterly tax reports with every state and province where they operate and the wait to receive a refund or pay any additional taxes owed, all depending on where the fuel was bought and where it was actually used," said Secretary Diamond.

"With IFTA, a Maine-based trucker will license only in Maine and will receive a decal good in all the other 59 states and provinces," said Secretary Diamond. "The truck driver will contact only Maine to make tax reports or to find out about fuel taxes owed or refunds coming."

Because so many out of state truckers have accounts in Maine under the current system, the number of fuel tax accounts in Maine is expected to drop to 2,000 from approximately 16,000. Despite the drop in accounts, the new program is expected to increase fuel tax collections in Maine through better compliance with the law and improved cooperation among states.

If a truck has a registered weight or actual weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, or three or more axles, the operator must license in IFTA. Vehicles operated only within the state may be exempt from certain requirements, according to Garry Hinkley, director of the Commercial Vehicle Division in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in the Department of the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Maine Motor Transport Association, has scheduled four free IFTA information workshops in September. A schedule is below. To get more information about this new program or the workshops, call BMV at (207) 287-8618.

IFTA Workshop Dates, Places, Times

DATE                  PLACE                              TIME
Monday, Sept. 9       Portland, Ramada Inn, exit 5       9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11   Houlton, Shiretown                    7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 12    Bangor, Holiday Inn, Main St.      9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 14    Augusta, MMTA office, Whitten Road    9 a.m.

August 6, 1996
Call: Chip Gavin
For immediate release
(207) 626-8406

Second referendum election very possible
Secretary of State explains implications of fall vote

Secretary of State Bill Diamond today is alerting Maine residents that a second referendum election on clear-cutting and logging standards is very possible, depending on the results of the looming special legislative session and the initial referendum election scheduled for November.

If the Legislature meets in special session and decides to place a competing measure on the November ballot, then voters would be asked to choose from three options. Those options are:

     A: the original citizen initiative
     B: the competing measure
     C: neither A nor B
If either A or B wins more than 50 percent of the vote, that measure would become law. If either A or B fails to win 50 percent of the vote, but at least one of them wins more than 1/3 of the vote, then the option with the larger plurality would be put out to vote again by itself.

A second vote could be required even if choice C wins more than 50 percent of the vote. If choice A or B wins more than 1/3 of the vote, but less than 50 percent, then a subsequent election would be required. That second vote would be held at the next statewide election or a special election not less than 60 days after the first election. Only choice A or B would appear on the ballot for a straight up or down vote in the follow-up election.

To avoid a second election on clear-cutting and logging standards, either A or B must win more than 50 percent or both A and B must each fail to win at least 1/3 of the total votes cast in the Nov. 5, 1996, election.

"If neither A nor B wins 1/3 of the vote, that's the end of it," said Secretary Diamond. "If one of them gets more than 50 percent of the vote, then we have a new law. If one of them gets less than 50 percent, but more than 1/3, then we must have a new election."

The Office of the Secretary of State and the Office of the Attorney General have been working to determine exactly how the results of the November election would be implemented under the Constitution of the State of Maine. This summary is the result of those discussions.

"We want everyone to know how complicated this election may get," said Secretary Diamond. "I have great confidence in the voters of Maine. We just want to do our best to make sure everyone is going into this with their eyes open."


For immediate release
Call: Bill Diamond
August 2, 1996
(207) 626-8400

Smith honoree is civil rights heroine
Arkansan wins 5th annual Margaret Chase Smith award

Secretary of State Bill Diamond has announced that civil rights heroine Mrs. Daisy Bates is the winner of the fifth annual Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award.

The award is intended to recognize acts of political courage and uncommon character as exemplified by Senator Smith in her famous "Declaration of Conscience." In that 1950 speech, Senator Smith confronted Senator Joseph McCarthy and the "red-baiting" tactics of the time.

Secretary Diamond and the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) established the award in 1992. Senator Smith herself accepted the inaugural award that year during NASS's 75th annual summer meeting, hosted in Portland, Maine.

"Maine is very proud of the late Senator Smith and NASS is honored to give this award in her name," said Secretary Diamond. "Shortly before Senator Smith passed away last year she told me how much this award meant to her. I was glad for the chance to tell her how much she and the award mean to NASS. This award will help ensure her courageous legacy lives on."

Mrs. Bates was named the 1996 honoree Tuesday at the NASS annual meeting, held this year in Charleston, South Carolina. She will receive her award in February in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Bates has many awards and accomplishments, including many related to her leadership of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. Mrs. Bates was the state chair of the Arkansas NAACP at that time. She retold her story in the 1962 book, "The Long Shadow of Little Rock." Today she chairs the half-million dollar Bates Minority Scholarship Fund, established by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company to send underprivileged students to college.

"Mrs. Bates exercised tremendous courage and leadership during the integration of Little Rock's Central High School," said Arkansas Secretary of State Sharon Priest. "Mrs. Bates is a true American heroine, and she has been a superb role model for the generations that have benefitted from her great contributions."

The past winners of this award are: Senator Margaret Chase Smith (1992); civil rights heroine Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1993); American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole (1994); and gun-safety advocates Jim and Sarah Brady (1995).


June 25, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Special building marks 25 years Saturday
State leaders celebrate Library, Museum, Archives

AUGUSTA - Past and present state leaders - including Secretary of State Bill Diamond and former Governor Ken Curtis - will join together in "celebrating the past and looking to the future" at an event Saturday morning commemorating a quarter century of service by the Maine State Library, Museum and Archives Building - sometimes called the Cultural Building.

The building, located in the capitol complex in Augusta, houses the Maine State Library, the Maine State Museum and the Maine State Archives. The unique building and collaborative effort of state agencies, was approved in a $4.8 million bond issue by Maine voters 30 years ago. The building was dedicated and opened 25 years ago this summer.

Secretary Diamond, Governor Curtis and Commissioner Janet Waldron will be among the officials on hand at 10 a.m. June 29 to help rededicate the building, which was first dedicated by Governor Curtis himself on June 2, 1971. Mr. Richard Berry, the master of ceremonies in 1971, will be the master of ceremonies this year, too. The public is welcome and invited to attend.

The building "is the expression in steel, concrete and granite of the need of Maine people of all ages to become more aware than ever before of Maines significant historic past and the part that it plays in the determination of the future of the State," concluded a history of the building printed in conjunction with the 1971 ceremonies.

The rededications official theme "Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future," reflects the buildings traditional mission and the work of the agencies it houses.

Each of the three agencies in the building is planning special events or programs in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration. Free museum posters, special exhibits and free computer discs with images of building will be available. Special exhibits at the building will continue through September.

The agencies also plan to thank the many state employees from other agencies, such as the capitol police and custodial staffs, for helping to keep the building running smoothly.

Each of the state agencies in the building, the Library, Museum and Archives, share a core responsibility for preserving the past and working for a better future.

For example, the Maine State Archives is home to the original Maine Constitution, hundreds of thousands of official state records and is a haven for geneologists from Maine and elsewhere who find the missing link in a family tree in the records at the Archives. Materials from the Archives have been featured in several television documentaries, films and more than a dozen books. The Archives also provides researchers with access to scores of databases and processes more than 7,000 requests for its microfilmed archival material annually. The Archives also provides interactive services on the internet and maintains a strong presence in the electronic world.

Under the leadership of the Maine State Library, the Maine Regional Library System shares more resources and lends more books on a per capita basis than any other northeastern state, including larger state such as Pennsylvania and New York. More than 100,000 items were shared among Maines libraries last year. A diary found in the Library by University of New Hampshire history professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich become a critical source in A Midwifes Tale, the Professor's Pulitzer-Prize-winning portrait of frontier Maine.

The Maine State Museum has welcomed more than 2 million visitors since the new building opened in 1971. The museums collection includes many noteworthy items. Items on special display for the 25th anniversary include a 135-year-old hand-painted canoe, the first snowmobile registered in Maine, a spectacular "sunburst" quilt and the mounted heads of two bull moose locked in death from combat. The moose were found in 1938 by Maine newspaper publisher Guy Gannett.

The 25th anniversary celebration of the capitol complex building for these three agencies will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 29, in the Augusta building itself. The public is invited to attend the event.

Members of the media may call 626-8406 for more information about the celebration.


March 22, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond says new OUI law working
Repeat drunk driving offenses cut by more than 35%

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today released preliminary operating under the influence statistics showing the state's new drinking and driving law is having a dramatic effect on the repeat offenses targeted by the new law. Repeat offenses have been cut by 37 percent.

"The early indications show the new OUI law is working very, very well," said Secretary Diamond. "The stiffer penalties and the renewed public attention on drinking and driving appears to be having a significant effect."

The single biggest change under the new law is generally stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, including longer driver license suspensions and increased fines. For example, a second offender now faces an 18-month suspension, six months longer than the former law required. Suspensions for third and fourth time offenses each increased by two years to four and six years, respectively.

"If you add up all the repeat offenses since the new law started and all the additional suspension time that was required, it's the same as keeping one drunk driver off the road for 660 years longer than the old law required," said Secretary Diamond. "That's 660 years worth of safer Maine roads and that's a good thing."

The new law was developed by a diverse task force established by Secretary Diamond and supported by a variety of groups. The proposal also received widespread bipartisan support in the Legislature where it was sponsored by Speaker of the House Dan A. Gwadosky and cosponsored by 54 other legislators. It was signed into law by the Governor on June 29, 1995.

Secretary Diamond stressed the data released today was preliminary. Data will be collected over the coming years to determine more definitively the effects of the new law. The 12-month projections released today are based on the first 8 months of the new OUI law. Those numbers are attached, along with a fact sheet about the 8-month old law.

"Law enforcement appears to be enforcing the law strongly, but the mix of offenders is changing," said Secretary Diamond. "The early data suggests the number of suspensions is holding just about steady, but repeat offenders are way down. That was the task force's goal."

Early effects of Maine's new OUI law:

Repeat offenses reduced:

Projected 12 months first 12 months of 1994* with new law** Estimated annual change 2nd+ OUI suspensions 1,650 1,034 - 37 percent

Total enforcement increases:

Projected 12 months first 12 months of 1994* with new law** Estimated change 3rd+ time OUI suspensions 338 287 - 15 percent 2nd time OUI suspensions 1,312 747 - 43 percent 1st time OUI suspensions 3,933 4,713 + 20 percent Total OUI suspensions 5,583 5,747 + 3 percent

* 1994 statistics represent hard data for the 12 month period, Jan. 1, 1994, to Dec. 31, 1994. This 1994 data is the most up-to-date information currently available.

** This data is projected for the 12-month period July 1, 1995, to June 30, 1996, the first 12 months after the new law took effect. This is projected on hard data reported during the first 8 months of the new law.

Source: Office of Secretary of State Bill Diamond


Details of Maine's enhanced OUI law


March 8, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Court upholds Diamond on tax cap effort
Documents seized Friday at organizer's home in criminal probe

AUGUSTA - Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Donald G. Alexander today upheld Secretary of State Bill Diamond's decision to reject a citizen initiative on a statewide property tax cap. The court ruling said it was beyond doubt that petitions had been altered. The ruling came as a criminal fraud investigation continued into massive petition irregularities.

Secretary Diamond ruled Feb. 16 that the tax-cap effort did not submit enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot. Even if the more than 22,500 suspected fraudulent signatures were counted, the effort still would have fallen more than 6,000 signatures short of the 51,131 required by law.

Secretary Diamond said he was gratified by the court ruling today and pledged to continue providing full support to the Attorney General's criminal fraud investigation of the petitions.

"We want to find out who did this," said Secretary Diamond. "It's clear that somebody altered these petitions in an illegal and shameful attempt to get credit for signatures that were too old or just no good. It is an unprecedented attack on the constitutional right of Maine people to enact laws directly.

"It is clear that somebody altered these petitions," said Secretary Diamond. "It is equally clear the tampering occurred before the petitions arrived in Augusta and that municipal officials played no role in the wrongdoing."

Acting on a court-authorized search warrant, Topsham police and investigators from the Attorney General's office Friday searched the Topsham home of initiative organizer Carol Palesky. Officials seized hundreds of photocopied petitions as evidence in the criminal probe.

The original petitions previously submitted to the Secretary of State specifically show:

"Maine will not stand for the petition process to be abused like this. It's too important to the people of Maine," said Secretary Diamond. "This is most blatant and it is most serious."

Of the four citizen initiatives submitted this year, the tax-cap effort was the only one to be rejected. The other three initiatives - which deal with clear-cutting, term limits and campaign finance reform - all have been sent to the Legislature for consideration. The Legislature may enact the initiatives or send them to a statewide vote in the November general election.

Excerpts from the court decision:

"The available record supports a finding, beyond any doubt, that dates on thousands of signatures and many circulator and voter registrar certifications were altered after the original circulation and certification to make it appear that the petitions were submitted within one year of the date of the signature." (Emphasis is the court's.)

"Plaintiff's claims and innuendos that the alteration may be the responsibility of either the Secretary of State or agents for those opposed to the tax cap who worked within their own organization have absolutely no support either in evidence or in reason."

"Only those needing to make a 1994 signature look like a 1995 signature would be interested in alteration."

"It appears that the good faith signatures and commitment of nearly 20,000 Maine voters have been tampered with to evade protections built into the Maine Constitution to ensure the integrity of the signature gathering and submission process. While some of the plaintiffs at hearing suggested that these problems are small technicalities, 20,000 tampered signature lines and 2,600 altered voter registrar certificates are no small technicality."


March 6, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond hails participation in primary
Yankee Day event boosts involvement by 300 percent

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today hailed Maine's inaugural participation in the Yankee Day presidential primary as an increase in participation of at least 300 percent from the statežs traditional caucus-only system.

"I think it's good for our democracy," said Secretary Diamond. "This process certainly gave many more people a voice in this important decision."

An estimated 20,000 people participate in biennial municipal caucuses, while unofficial results indicate at least 80,000 people cast votes in the Yankee Day primary on Tuesday. That is an increase of 300 percent.

"It might have seemed slow at the polls compared to a November presidential election, but the primary is a clear improvement from the pure caucus system," said Secretary Diamond.

"We'd like to see even more people participate and I think we will see participation grow in the future," said Secretary Diamond. "But, considering it was our first time out and the weather was awful, I think Maine voters showed some real spirit in getting to the polls."

The unofficial Republican turnout results would translate into more than 20 percent of enrolled Republicans voting.

The primary election was a regional event that included all the New England states except New Hampshire. Approximately 11 percent of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and 12 percent of the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination were at stake in the 5 Yankee Day states.

Maine is a leader in voter participation. The state had the highest voter turnout in the nation in the 1990 general election and again in the 1992 presidential election. The state has been among the top eight states for voter participation in every general election since 1976.

Official election results will be tabulated and made available by the Secretary of State within 20 days of the election, as required by state law.


January 29, 1996
Call: Bill Diamond
For immediate release
(207) 626-8400

Diamond aims to make car registration easy
Task force legislation opens door to 24-hour at home service

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Bill Diamond today unveiled a plan to improve significantly Maine's vehicle registration process by allowing people to register vehicles over the phone, by computer, through the mail, at an ATM-type machine or at the same place they buy a new car.

"Many people like doing business with their town clerk and they'll continue to have that choice," said Secretary Diamond. "What we're really talking about is giving people another option. If we can have a system that lets you register your car over the phone, 24-hours-a-day, from your living room, I think we should have it," he said.

Beyond improving customer service, the plan also is intended to maintain or improve the security of the money and data involved in the vehicle registration system. The task force plan also calls for holding registration fees at the existing levels. A fee of up to $5 is allowed under current law when a registration is done outside a Motor Vehicle office.

Secretary Diamond testified today before the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Transportation about the proposal, which was developed by a task force he established in March, 1995. If adopted, the legislation would authorize the Secretary of State to begin one or more pilot projects that could be expanded later for all customers to use. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. William B. O'Gara of Westbrook.

The task force report identified several possible systems, but does not make any choice between them. The report named telephones, ATM-type machines, the mail, personal computers and third party sites (such as new car dealers) as possibilities that would improve customer service.

Under Maine's current registration system, vehicle owners must pay their excise tax in their municipality before they can register the vehicle. Some towns register cars, but they are not required to offer that service and many do not.

In some communities, the total registration transaction can be done in one place - the town hall. In this best case scenario, customers still must travel to their town office during its regular hours. Those hours often are the same hours that many people are at work.

In other communities, where a town does not offer vehicle registration services, the customer must go to the town hall or wherever the clerk conducts business and then drive someplace else - often a Motor Vehicles office or another town - to finish registering their vehicle. This two-step process was a top concern of Secretary Diamond's task force.

The registration improvement committee included representatives of diverse interests, including law enforcement, Bureau of Taxation, Office of the Governor, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a municipal treasurer, Maine Municipal Association and Maine Motor Transport Assoc. Rep. William B. O'Gara and Senator Albert G. Stevens, Jr., also served on the committee. Additionally, committee members conducted field work to learn the views of customers and others involved with the vehicle registration process. The group's report is titled

* Into the 21st Century.

"We're trying to make it more convenient for our customers. That's why we're doing this," said Secretary Diamond. "People only have so much free time and I think they'd like to spend as little of it as possible registering their car."

"I think we can give our customers what they want - a faster, more convenient system," said Secretary Diamond. "If the Legislature says to go for it, we will."


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