Maine GOP has 17 signed affidavits about wrong ballots
Since Election Day, a small number of Boothbay region voters claimed they received the wrong ballot. These complaints centered around their congressional ballot listing the wrong candidates. Instead of a ballot with three candidates for Maine’s First Congressional District, they received a ballot with the four candidates in the second district.
On Dec. 6, the Maine Republican Party sent out a press release with 17 names of Boothbay region voters who signed an affidavit stating they received a ballot and voted for Second Congressional candidate Bruce Poliquin.
“Clearly, there is a problem we need to get to the bottom of here,” said Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage in the press release. “This is the latest in a long line of irregularities in Maine’s elections, and one that these voters deserve answers for.”
On Election Night, the Boothbay Register asked clerks in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor about any complaints of voters receiving the wrong ballots. Both towns reported no irregularities. The Boothbay Register also contacted the Maine Secretary of State’s office inquiring if any municipalities in the first district received the wrong ballot. In an email response, Secretary of State Communications Director Kristen Muszynski responded no other municipality reported any problems. “The tabulator would not accept it – it would be incapable of reading it – and would have given an error message on the screen and required the ballot to be returned. Thus, it is not possible for voters in CD1 to actually cast a CD2 ballot even if they somehow mistakenly received one,” she wrote.
A similar response was sent to town clerks in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor from Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn. The town of Boothbay Harbor posted her response on its Facebook page. “There are some voters of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor that insist that Bruce Poliquin and Jared Golden were on their ballots during the Nov. 6, 2018 election. Those candidates are in a different district and their names were not printed on our district’s ballots. The following explanation of the voting process was sent to the Town Clerk of Boothbay, Lynn Maloney, and the Town Clerk of Boothbay Harbor, Michelle Farnham, to clear up any misconceptions,” she wrote.
According to Flynn, tabulator memory sticks are programmed and tested to accept ballot styles for a specific municipality. Once ballots are cut and shrink wrapped, a municipality may receive the wrong ones. In those cases, if a ballot is mistakenly cast, the tabulator would detect it. “An error message would appear and require the ballot be returned. Since you had no auxiliary ballots that voters could not insert into the machine, then it is impossible that your voters had a ballot with the wrong district on it. I don’t know what else to say that will satisfy voters’ fears, except that this office does the programming (not the vendor or a 3rd party), and every ballot style and memory stick was tested by us before sending it to you, and hopefully tested by you as well. You are welcome to share this message with any constituents,” wrote Flynn.
Boothbay residents David Warford is one of the 17 local voters who signed an affidavit stating they received the wrong ballot. He attended an Election Night party at Brady’s Pub when people began talking about the election. When the discussion turned to the congressional race, Warford and four other locals reported their ballots included Second District Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s name and they all voted for him.
“I know I’m not crazy and I wouldn’t go through this stuff unless it actually happened. I didn’t pay much attention to it until we started talking about it afterwards, and realized we voted in the wrong election,” he said. “I’m hoping the state will look into it and make sure my ballot didn’t get thrown out. That’s all I want,” Warford said on Dec. 5.
On Nov. 30, Daniel Bates’ affidavit read “I am concerned I accidentally voted for Poliquin. If this is the case, I’m more concerned my vote was discounted in the Nov. 2018 election. I’m requesting the state review the ballots to see if a printing error occurred.”
Among the local voters who signed an affidavit swearing to receiving a ballot with Second Congressional District candidates are Barbara and James Harriger, Boothbay Harbor; Amy Grant, Trevett; Charles and Barbara House, Boothbay; David and Teri Bates, Boothbay; Lisa Hallinan, Boothbay Harbor; David Harford, Boothbay; Hannah Leeman, Boothbay Harbor; Evelyn and Dana Greenleaf, Trevett; Kenneth Anderson, Boothbay Harbor; Sam Fuller, East Boothbay, Charles and Jeanne Fuller, Boothbay; Pamela Mancuso, Boothbay; and Derrick Joannides, of Boothbay.