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The problems with reports that Maine voters received wrong ballots — Daily Brief — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

The problems with reports that Maine voters received wrong ballots — Daily Brief — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Gabor Degre | BDN

Gabor Degre | BDN

Robert Grey steps out of the voting sales space after he filling out his poll on the Brewer Auditorium in 2017.

By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
December 7, 2018 9:59 am

Up to date: December 7, 2018 10:05 am

Good morning from Augusta. A weird episode unfolded on Wednesday round Maine’s 2018 election, when the Maine Republican Celebration launched affidavits from 17 voters within the 1st Congressional District who assume they mistakenly voted within the wrong congressional district.

The problems? Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s workplace says it’s functionally unimaginable, clerks agree and there’s no proof of irregularities across the tallies from the cities of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor and Edgecomb, the coastal cities the place considerations are concentrated.

Nearly all who’ve come ahead are Republican voters. Complaints have been made after Election Day. As a result of the voters are within the 1st District, it wouldn’t impression the recount within the 2nd District. These points are being raised amid Republican antipathy towards ranked-choice voting.

Might it’s a case of false reminiscence? It’s arduous to pin down proper now. Right here’s what we all know.

There’s a various diploma of certainty within the affidavits and it doesn’t appear as if any complaints have been raised till after Election Day. Affidavits got here from 17 voters who’re sure to various levels that that they had the wrong poll. Some signed type affidavits saying they “swear” they voted for U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who misplaced the 2nd District race to Democrat Jared Golden. A married couple stated they have been “nearly positive” they did. One other vote stated he “did not realize it at the time but I now know” he voted within the wrong race.

Jason Savage, the chief director of the Maine Republican Get together, stated he began to listen to complaints from this area shortly after Election Day, however they’ve snowballed since then and he has heard of dozens extra. Lynn Maloney and Michelle Farnham, the city clerks in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, stated they heard no comparable complaints on Election Day.

Charles Home of Boothbay, who signed a “nearly positive” affidavit, stated whereas he usually is aware of who must be on a poll, he remembers “rushing” on Nov. 6 and voting for Poliquin as an alternative of returning his poll — which he now concedes he ought to have executed.

After that, he stated he talked concerning the election with his spouse, two daughters and considered one of their husbands. Home stated 4 of the 5 remembered having the 2nd District race on their poll. He was contacted three weeks later to fill out an affidavit.

“I’d hate to say something under oath that wasn’t true, but I’d be extremely surprised that all four of us misremembered that happening,” Home stated.

If these ballots have been wrong, they wouldn’t have been accepted by tabulating machines. There are additionally no obvious points with vote tallies in these cities. Dunlap’s workplace has responded to the complaints within the cities, with Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn saying the tabulating machines utilized in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor wouldn’t have accepted 2nd District ballots if a voter tried to feed them into the machine.

The clerks in these two cities agreed with that discovering. Edgecomb’s clerk informed WGME that the city counts ballots by hand they usually didn’t see any wrong ballots there.

The vote tallies within the three cities additionally present no obvious irregularities. Taken collectively, that they had above-average turnout in comparison with Lincoln County. As they need to be, the variety of votes within the 1st District and races for different seats in every city have been the identical.

It’s arduous to sq. what occurred right here, although Republicans assume these ballots ought to be checked out. Poliquin referred to as these points “concerning” in a Thursday submit on Fb. He’s suing Dunlap in a bid to invalidate the ranked-choice election and whereas these points are being baked into that debate, these votes wouldn’t influence his election.

Savage, the state GOP official, stated it was an instance of “confusion” round ranked-choice voting, although almost three-quarters of individuals in a Bangor Daily News exit ballot stated rating decisions was very or considerably straightforward.

What occurred right here? The “Mandela effect” is a phrase that has been coined to explain false reminiscences in teams of individuals and educational analysis has confirmed that after-the-fact suggestion can lead individuals to consider issues occurred that by no means did. TV viewers have been additionally inundated with advertisements for the 2nd District race and the first District was a comparatively sleepy marketing campaign.

Both approach, Republicans assume the complaints ought to lead officers to examine the ballots in these cities. Former Rep. Stephanie Hawke, R-Boothbay Harbor, who was ousted by 82 votes and fielded many complaints, stated individuals could possibly be dissuaded to vote in the event that they aren’t examined.

Cities can’t examine these ballots with out approval from Dunlap’s workplace. His spokeswoman, Kristen Muszynski, stated there are not any plans to do that as a result of “we don’t have evidence of ballots being kicked back for this reason.”

How lobbyists can donate to the governor-elect

The Democratic governor-elect gained’t let lobbyists fund her transition workforce. She is going to allow them to fund her inauguration with assist from a loophole. On Wednesday, Gov.-elect Janet Mills’ transition workforce registered two committees with Maine’s ethics watchdog that permit her to start elevating limitless personal funds via Jan. 30 for her transition to the Blaine Home and inaugural actions beneath a brand new regulation mandating disclosure of transition funding.

We informed you about that final week. We additionally stated Mills confronted a Dec. 5 deadline to boost cash from lobbyists, because the new Legislature was sworn in then and through periods, lobbyists and their companies are barred from donating to legislators and transitions. Nevertheless, there’s a loophole.

In Maine, lobbyists are outlined as people who find themselves paid to affect lawmakers on payments. After they attain eight hours of exercise, they need to register with the state. These registrations are good till Nov. 30 of every yr, so all of them just lately expired. Solely 11 lobbyists have registered for 2019.

This implies that nearly all of Maine’s big-name lobbyists — the highest 96 highest-paid ones between 2017 and 2018, to be actual — aren’t “lobbyists” but within the eyes of the state. Subsequently, the prohibitions on funding Mills and different politicians don’t apply proper now.

In an e mail, Mills spokesman Scott Ogden stated the governor-elect won’t solicit donations from lobbyists or companies using lobbyists for her transition staff, which can slender down candidates being thought-about for Mills’ Cupboard. Ogden stated that association was made “to send a clear message” that appointments “will be based solely and strictly on the merits of the candidates and nothing else.”

Nevertheless, he stated the transition group will settle for all donations from everybody trying to fund inaugural actions. Everybody consists of lobbyists, who Ogden stated “would never influence any decision-making within the transition to begin with.”

Studying listing

— Gov. Paul LePage misplaced one other spherical in courtroom in his authorized battle towards Medicaid enlargement. On Thursday, Superior Courtroom Justice Michaela Murphy denied the administration’s request to remain an order forcing it to implement voter-approved Medicaid enlargement. It’s the newest setback Murphy has dealt to LePage’s authorized marketing campaign towards enlargement of the federal government well being program underneath the Reasonably priced Care Act. However Thursday’s ruling, which additionally delays the deadline for implementation to Feb. 1, 2019, successfully arms the long-running political and authorized battle over implementing a coverage that voters accredited in 2017 to Mills.

— The street to prosperity includes fixing roads and discovering cleaner power sources, a assume tank suggested Maine’s subsequent governor. That’s the gist of a memo the Acadia Middle of Rockport despatched to Mills detailing analysis on Maine’s financial improvement choices. The middle stated that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone might produce greater than $three.eight billion in new financial advantages, add eight,700 new jobs and create $2.three billion in public well being and different advantages. With different enhancements, together with cleaner power, the state might generate $6.5 billion in shopper and financial advantages and create about 13,500 new jobs. Mills will keynote the group’s power convention as we speak in Augusta. The transportation infrastructure improve options dovetail with LePage’s however the power proposals mirror a stark distinction from his agenda for the previous eight years.

— Prosecutors and protection attorneys within the case of a murdered Hampden lady need extra solutions from a Roman Catholic priest. Each side within the case involving Philip Clark, 55 of Hampden, who’s accused of killing his sister-in-law in July, argued Wednesday that the homicide sufferer’s journal, which she stored on the course of a Bangor priest, must be admitted as proof within the murder case towards Clark. Protection lawyer David Bate stated at a courtroom listening to that the Rev. Anthony Cipolle has been “less than candid with investigators in this case.” He stated the priest has invoked his Fifth Modification proper to silence and has refused to voluntarily give his DNA to be examined as a part of the murder investigation into the July dying of Renee Henneberry Clark, 49. Prosecutors additionally filed a movement to realize entry to the diary in preparation for the trial, which is about for subsequent yr.

Weigh in on LePage

LePage has been some of the influential Maine politicians prior to now half century. As his eight-year tenure as governor proceeds via its last month, the BDN want to understand how you assume he did — each when it comes to main the state and affecting your lives.

Please take a couple of moments to share your ideas right here. We welcome your earnest and trustworthy reflections and insights. You’ve had eight years to learn and listen to what we expect. We genuinely need to know what you, as Mainers, consider to be the hallmarks of his governorship.

We search knowledge, not wit. So we ask that you resist the temptation to be nasty, snarky or ironic to share considerate views that we in flip can share with readers. Thanks. Right here’s your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy

Immediately’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. In case you’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.

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