Regardless of position, using facts and not fiction in debate is expected of our civic leaders. When someone purposefully veers into outright deception and spreading false claims to build support for one’s particular position, it is disservice to Maine citizens. Argue with passion, debate vigorously, but tell the truth.
LD 1376 which reduces Maine citizens’ access to the polls by denying them the continuation of same day registration unanimously enacted by a Republican legislature in 1973 and continually used by Republicans, Democrats, and unenrolled voters without problem is a case in point. For partisan and rhetorical reasons Maine’s GOP joined the national trend to restrict ballot access using sound bite and talk radio reasoning.
Most disheartening is the largely unchallenged and I contend false assertion made by State Republican Chairman, Charlie Webster, published on June 27th regarding “witnessed busloads of new voters who register Election Day, folks most of us have never met and frankly most of us may never see again.”
I’ll be upfront; I do not believe Mr. Webster. The sad element in this affair is that his motivation seems to be to spread fear of people who for understandable reasons register at election time rather than welcoming greater involvement in our electoral process.
Mr. Webster ought to post videos of the busloads of undesirable voters swamping polls online. Surely the Republican Chairman has photos, news stories, and hard evidence to make such a charge. He should place sworn affidavits by reliable witnesses in front of us. In other words, prove it Charlie.
If proof is not forthcoming then Mr. Webster ought to apologize or the Republican State Committee ought to admonish him. If neither is forthcoming, then we as voters will need to admonish the GOP ourselves next election because truth is important.