Governor Paul R. LePage
|November 5, 2011||
Radio Address: Remember to Get Out and Vote
November 5, 2011
It can take up to twenty days in either direction for mail to travel between Maine and Afghanistan.
Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.
We are a week away from Veterans’ Day and four days away from our elections. This seems fitting, since the only reason we are able to have elections is because of the men and women – the veterans – who have defended us at home and overseas.
That is why I encourage all Maine citizens to vote “No” on Question One to help ensure we have secure elections.
I was speaking with a young veteran of Iraq recently about this issue. He told me that, if he wanted to exercise his right to vote, he had to make a conscious effort months in advance to ensure he was registered back home, apply for a ballot, receive it, fill it out, and send it back. He had to do all of that while carrying out his mission in defense of our country.
His biggest concern was with fraudulent votes, because just one person voting illegally could cancel out his voice from the front lines.
So what have we done to protect his voice? We have said that Mainers – like ninety-three percent of the country – should register to vote on a day other than election day. You can register to vote when you get your drivers’ license, or when you pay your taxes, or get a license for your dog. If your time is really limited, you can register on the same day you pick up an absentee ballot.
As the Mayor of Waterville, I saw first-hand how busy election days can be for our clerks. The process of explaining ballots, matching voters with the voter rolls, and ensuring the line moves quickly is a huge task. Asking them to also review new registrations to ensure that the applicant is eligible to vote may be the straw that breaks the back of our election system. Allowing one improper vote to be cast is one too many.
We must remember that our right to vote and have our voices heard is very rare in human history. Wars have been fought by people all over the world for that right. And wars have been fought by men and women both yesterday and today to ensure that we still have that right.
Because of what others sacrificed to give us that right, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the candidates and questions. A democracy only works if we know what we are voting for and why we are making that decision. I encourage all Maine voters to spend this weekend looking hard at the facts behind each issue to make a fully-informed choice.
On question one, the facts are that you can register to vote on almost any day other than election day. A “No” vote will help ensure that this great privilege called “voting” that has been handed down to us is protected. It is not too much to ask. If it helps prevent just one improper vote, then we protect the voices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines overseas.
Thank you for listening. Have a great weekend and please remember to vote on Tuesday.