Trenton woman wins ACLU of Maine award for voting rights work

Posted Oct. 09, 2013, at 5:46 p.m.
Ann Luther
Courtesy photo
Ann Luther
Ann Luther, a member of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of Maine, speaks at a press conference in a hallway outside Maine People's Alliance offices in Bangor in this 2011 file photo.
Ann Luther, a member of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of Maine, speaks at a press conference in a hallway outside Maine People's Alliance offices in Bangor in this 2011 file photo.

ORONO, Maine – The ACLU of Maine will present its Roger Baldwin Award to a Trenton woman who has worked for more than a decade to ensure voting rights, clean elections and ethics in government.

Ann Luther, 62, moved to Maine full time in 1998 from the Philadelphia area and began working on those issues when she joined the League of Women Voters Downeast. Luther said Wednesday that she voted but was not active in public affairs before moving to Maine.

“Ann Luther has contributed immeasurably to the protection of voting rights in Maine, and she has done it as a volunteer,” John Paterson, president of the ACLU of Maine, said in a press release. “The ACLU of Maine is proud to work alongside Ann to ensure that all qualified Mainers are able to make their voices heard at the ballot box. We are incredibly indebted to Ann for her continued work in this crucial area.”

Luther, who has served as president of the League of Women Voters of Maine in the past, is now the advocacy chairwoman for the organization. She also serves on the board of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections as president and treasurer.

In 2011, Luther co-led the lobbying efforts alongside the ACLU of Maine to stop voter ID, an effort to require people to present identification before they can vote, and served as a campaign spokesperson and organizer in the successful statewide campaign to restore same-day voter registration, the press release said. She also helped organize successful statewide opposition to another attempt to pass voter ID in 2012.

“I can’t even tell you how honored I am to receive the award,” she said Wednesday. “When I look at who the previous honorees are, I am deeply complimented by it. I share this with the League of Women Voters. So many women who came before me helped give me a platform for civic engagement.”

The award is named for Roger Baldwin, an ardent activist for social justice who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union and served as its director until 1950. The Baldwin Award is presented annually to a group or activist that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of civil liberties in Maine.

In addition to the presentation of the Baldwin Award, the ACLU of Maine’s annual meeting Thursday at the University of Maine’s Wells Commons will include an update on the state of civil liberties in Maine and a discussion of upcoming issues expected in the next legislative session. The meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

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