Secretary of state to release voter fraud findings

Charles Summers
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Charles Summers
Posted Sept. 20, 2011, at 5:45 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 20, 2011, at 9:36 p.m.
Charles Webster
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Charles Webster

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers on Wednesday will announce the findings of a joint investigation into what he called the “questionable voter activity” of college students, and also whether noncitizens have successfully registered to vote.

Summers launched his investigation in late July, a couple days after he was presented with information by Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster.

Webster suggested that 206 out-of-state students attending public Maine universities should be questioned and investigated for possible voter fraud. Specifically, the state GOP chairman wanted to know whether those students had established residency in Maine or whether they voted twice — in Maine and in their home state.

In the past, courts have ruled that students can consider a college dormitory their primary residence, which would allow them to vote in that community even if they are not full-time Maine residents.

So far, there has been no evidence presented that any student voted twice and some students have called out Webster for going after a voting bloc that traditionally votes Democratic.

Summers announced two months ago that he would roll Webster’s allegations into a broader investigation of possible voter fraud that dates back several years.

That investigation involves claims made by a Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee that noncitizens were registering to vote without proper documentation.

Former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, however, said those claims were dealt with years ago, and he criticized Summers for launching the investigation in such a public way.

Although the two claims seemed unrelated, Summers said in July that they were connected because each dealt with possible voter fraud. He is expected to present further information about the investigation at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Webster has not backed away from his statements about college students, and has been adamant in his belief that voter fraud is more widespread than people believe and past administrations have swept it under the rug.

Earlier this month, Webster released information claiming that people who listed hotel rooms as their residence should not have been allowed to vote in the 2004 general election in Maine.

It turns out the 19 names offered by Webster all were staying at a South Portland hotel and finishing course work at St. Joseph College in Standish because they were displaced by a hurricane.

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