This Election Day, polling locations across the state are being inundated with candidates for various political offices collecting $5 checks for “clean elections” at their local polling locations. In some cases, candidates have set up tables just a few feet away from the polls with large signs simply asking: “Do You Want To Fund Clean Elections?” without informing the voters that, as the candidate, they are the beneficiary of the money they’re soliciting.
Title 21-A Chapter 9 in Maine’s revised statutes ensures that the people of Maine can cast their votes without being harassed. Slowly, this concept is eroding as special interest groups collect signatures to get their initiatives on the ballot and now political candidates are attempting to shakedown voters to fund their campaigns. This is campaigning and fundraising at polling locations, from people who are just stopping in to exercise their right to vote. This is the very definition of harassment and it must stop.
After receiving multiple complaints from his constituents, Rep. Dick Campbell of Orrington contacted the Office of the Revisor of Statutes in Augusta to submit legislation outlawing this practice.
“The law already prohibits campaigning of any kind at polling locations,” said Rep Campbell. “I believe that fundraising for a campaign by collecting clean elections checks certainly falls under the umbrella of campaigning and should not be allowed where people are trying to vote. It’s time we made the law crystal clear and put a stop to this.”
Rep. Campbell’s bill will be brought forward this January during the first session of the 129th Maine Legislature.