Information about Election Day and registering to vote
This weekend, a flyer was circulated on the Bates campus with false information about tomorrow’s election and what our students need to do to register to vote. The misleading information appears to be an attempt to suppress voting in our community. It is important that all students understand the law governing the electoral process.
According to state law, to be eligible to register and vote in Maine, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be at least 18 years of age by the general election;
- Have established and maintain a voting residence in the municipality (i.e. city, town, plantation or unorganized township) where you seek to register.
Further guidance from the Office of Maine’s Secretary of State clearly states that “you can establish a voting residence at your Maine school address if you have a present intention to remain at that address for the time being, whether that residence is a dorm, apartment, house or even a hotel. Maine law expressly provides that you will not gain or lose residency solely because of your presence in or absence from the state while attending school, and this provision may not be interpreted ‘to prevent a student at any institution of learning from qualifying as a voter’ in the town ‘where the student resides while attending’ that school.”
In other words, many Bates students are eligible to register and vote in the City of Lewiston. Any unofficial communications that suggest otherwise are contrary to the ideals of American democracy. You may review official election information issued by the State of Maine at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/resident.html.
Participation in the electoral process is a right and a civic duty. If you are eligible to vote, I strongly encourage you to do so on Tuesday.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.