Secretary Of State Says More Serious Allegations Of Voter Have Surfaced
The Secretary of State is asking the Attorney General to join his probe into possible voter fraud in Maine. He says it might have involved misconduct by state employees.Monday, the head of Maine’s Republican Party, Charlie Webster, submitted a list to the Secretary of State of 206 out of state college students he says committed voter fraud in Maine.Secretary of State Charles Summers says that inquiry is now being combined with an investigation his office had already begun. “Prior to Mr. Webster’s revelation on Monday, I had been approached on July 1st by an employee of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles who reported to me her experiences of accepting voter registration forms from customers she believed to be non-citizens,” Summers told reporters gathered in his office.Summers wouldn’t say which BMV branch she worked in, but did say she told him she had complained before to previous administrations. Summers says she provided documentation in support of her claims, but was told to disregard such activity. “What I find most alarming is that when her suspicions were brought forward, senior-level-management within the department of the Secretary of State – ordered – these files to be shredded,” Summers said.Summers wouldn’t comment on which administration he is referring to, but says the alleged misconduct dates back more than 5 years. Former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who served under Governor Baldacci, told TV5: “This is all completely new to me. If I had heard allegations like this, that is a significant crime. We would have taken it straight to the attorney general’s office.”Summers says this issue has nothing to do with a new law banning same day voter registration, but David Farmer, who represents the group Protect Maine’s Voting Rights who is working on a campaign seeking to repeal that law, question the timing. “Unfortunately I think because of the timing of his release and the timing of Charlie Webster’s release on Monday is meant to confuse the issue of voting so that people will make that connection,” Farmer said.Democrats, like Michael Carey of Lewiston, also have questions. “The press conference today has absolutely nothing to do with repeal of the same day voter registration law as the secretary said himself,” Representative Carey said moments after the press conference ended. “It just raises the question of why the press conference now when there’s no specifics around the allegations that have been raised.”Another question raised was about Summers background, who once served as Vice Chair of the Republican Party under Charlie Webster. Some have suggested this represents a conflict of interest for Summers. “I am not the vice chairman now I’m the Secretary of State,” Summers fired back, “and constitutionally I’m responsible for elections and so it is my investigation.”Secretary of State Summers says there will be a joint investigation into all of this. That will include investigators from the Attorney General’s office as well as the Secretary of State’s office.