October 5, 2011
Contact: Caitlin E. Chamberlain
(207) 441-0501

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers' Statement Regarding Misleading Sun Journal Article

In response to the recent misrepresentation by the Lewiston Sun Journal, which was later picked up by the Bangor Daily News, as to the reason and intention behind the letter sent to students in the University of Maine system at the conclusion of my investigation into allegations of possible voter fraud, I want to clarify the record. Maine is only one of three states where the Secretary of State is in the unique position of overseeing Elections and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. So, relaying this information to students (who may or may not have been aware, that by registering to vote they have declared residency in Maine and are now subject to Motor Vehicle laws) was done in the spirit of helping them comply with the law.

It is important to note that, over three decades ago, Attorney General Richard Cohen, in 1980, issued a written opinion based on this exact subject which says that once anyone registers to vote, they have declared Maine as their residence and must adhere to all pertinent laws. Attorney General Cohen further states, we conclude that a person, such as a student, physically located in this State who registers to vote and by that act claims Maine as his or her fixed habitation, is thereby precluded from claiming nonresident status so as to continue his or her exemption from Maine s registration and operator licensing laws.

Therefore, my request that appropriate steps be taken by these individuals to satisfy Maine Motor Vehicle Law is based on and consistent with this opinion, which is still in effect, and is shared by our current Attorney General William Schneider.