On Saturday evening, March 31, from 5:30 to 7:30, the Portland Club will be hosting a debate between the Democratic primary candidates for the U.S. Senate. All four candidates who will be on the Democratic primary ballot have communicated their attention to take part in the debate.
The Democratic primary candidates are: Cynthia Dill, current State Senator from Cape Elizabeth; Matt Dunlap, of Old Town, a former State legislator and Secretary of State; Jon Hinck, current State senator from Portland; and Benjamin Pollard, a Portland businessman and educator.
The moderator for the Democratic event will be former Democratic State Legislator from Portland , Herb Adams.
This event is open to the public at no charge and there is free parking in back of the building.
The Portland Club is located at 156 state Street, just down from the Longfellow statue on the right, right before Mercy Hospital. There is a big American flag hanging from the front of the building.
Jill Barkley called the caucus to order at 2 p.m.
Voters elected Pat Washburn caucus secretary. She then presided over the election of Ms. Barkley as caucus chair.
Ms. Barkley recognized the Portland Democratic Executive Committee, including Matt Moonen, James Romer, and Ms. Washburn. She also welcomed new people and encouraged those present to attend meetings of the city committee.
COUNTY COMMITTEE: Portland gets 46 members. Those who wish to participate may attend the next meeting March 18 in Brunswick. In the unlikely event that more than 46 people seek to represent Portland, an election will be held at that meeting.
PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE: The meeting unanimously affirmed President Barack Obama as our choice for another term in office.
STATE CONVENTION: Will be held in Augusta June 1-3 (more info). Delegates are asked to pay a registration fee of $40, but if anyone wants to be a delegate from Portland and cannot afford this, speak to an officer and we will make arrangements.
Portland has 269 delegates to the state convention, and can also name 269 alternates.
Ms. Barkley asked for a motion to suspend the rules to allow the caucus to vote as a committe of the whole to nominate anyone present who wishes to be a delegate to the state convention. The motion passed, as did the subsequent motion to name all volunteers as delegates.
ELECTION CLERKS: If you are interested in being an election clerk see Pat or Jill after we adjourn.
RAFFLE: Herb Adams presided over a raffle of a print of the S.S. Portland, to benefit the City Committee. This plus Mr. Romer’s passing of a stylish hat raised more than the meeting cost to put on! Added to the treasury to help support Dem candidates.
Ms. Barkley concluded the business meeting by encouraging participants to give $5 contributions to Clean Elections candidates.
SPEAKERS (note that this was before Sen. Snowe’s decision not to run for re-election, so the landscape has changed considerably):
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree
U.S. Senate candidates
* Matt Dunlap
* Cynthia Dill
* Simon Thompson for Jon Hinck
Ms. Barkley recognized the following state and local elected officials present:
Sen. Justin Alfond
Sen. Joe Brannigan
Rep. Diane Russell
Rep. Jon Hinck
Rep. Peter Stuckey
Rep. Mark Dion
Rep. Steve Lovejoy
Rep. Denise Harlow
Rep. Anne Haskell
Mayor Michael Brennan
County Commissioner: Jim Cloutier
Ms. Barkley recognized the following candidates
Anne Haskell, Senate District 9
Herb Adams, House District 119
Muhammad Dini, House District 119
Matt Moonen, House District 118
Dillon Bates, House District 118
Anthony Donovan, House District 117
Dick Farnsworth, House District 117
Donna Binder, House District 117
Denise Harlow, House District 116
Mallory Shaughnessy, House District 115
Eric Jorgensen, House District 115
Peter Stuckey, House District 114
Register of Probate:
Obama for America:
Jeremy Fisher encouraged those present to attend the event March 30 with President Obama at Sable Oaks.
Jacob Walton encouraged those present to attend a community meeting Feb. 29, and to vote for marriage equality in November.
Dick Spencer was the raffle winner.
Attendees were invited to join the afterparty at Slainte.
Join us for the Portland Democratic Caucus at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at Ocean Gateway! We’ll affirm our support for Democratic principles and get a chance to learn more about state and local candidates.
Michael Brennan, a Portland Democrat, was elected in the city’s first test of ranked-choice voting. We’re glad to see the race go to a Democrat, and also to see Yes on 1 triumph, preserving our right to same-day voter registration!
The summer signature drive went forward with amazing success, and now the People’s Veto on same-day voter registration is on the ballot! Which means it’s time for you to help with phone banking and contributions toward getting the votes needed to overturn Gov. LePage’s harmful measure. Visit protectmainevotes.com to learn more, or e-mail Jennie Pirkl (email@example.com) to find out how you can help.
The Portland mayoral race, with 15 people running and a brand-new form of voting, may be enough to overwhelm even the most dedicated citizens and voters! We’d like to encourage you to narrow down your choices to the Democratic candidates, all of whom are part of a party that represents the core values of Portland — equality, diversity, openness and opportunity.
The Democrats in the race are listed below, in alphabetical order. (Links go to their campaign Web sites.)
We need your help now. As the email below described, we are going to be working as part of a coalition to enact a people’s veto of the repeal of same day voter registration. We will be working to get this on the ballot this November. In order to do so, the coalition members have the goal of collecting 71,500 signatures by early August.
The signature-gathering process will begin this Saturday, the 9th. There is going to be a training at the offices of the Maine People’s Alliance in Portland, at 565 Congress Street, Suite 200, on Saturday, July 9, at 9:00 AM. We would encourage everyone who is willing to volunteer and gather signatures to attempt to attend this training, to insure that everything is done properly. Petitions will be ready, available and distributed at this meeting. If you are unable to attend the training and are willing to volunteer to gather even a few signatures, please let us know and we’ll make arrangements to get petitions to you. We encourage you to volunteer, even a couple of hours…Every signature that you gather gets us closer to our goal.
Chair Jill Barkley has announced that we’ll take August off from our monthly meetings because of the busy summer season. Enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you September 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Portland Public Library!
Circulating a petition is one of the most sacred acts of an engaged democracy. But the integrity of that effort rests on the shoulders of the circulators, and an entire campaign can fail because of cost-cutting.
The Portland Democrats are joining with other organizations to attempt to put a question on the November ballot that would repeal the Legislature’s ban on same-day voter registration, which has worked well for Maine for decades. (More on this at http://www.protectmainevotes.com/) As we begin gathering signatures, please bear these rules in mind.
- There are no shortcuts!
- 57,277 signatures will keep the law from taking effect until the voters decide whether or not to let it stand.
- We have 90 days from the date of the adjournment of the Legislature to circulate and have verified the signatures needed.
- August 9 is the tentative deadline to get this question on the November ballot!
- You are the legal steward of every petition you manage. It is your name that is on the petition, and you are legally accountable for the methods employed to gather signatures.
- The signatures must be physically made by the voter. Absolutely no online, electronic or photocopied methods are allowed.
- You must personally witness every signature.
- You will sign a notarized oath to this effect. You will do this for every form you circulate. The notary who affirms your oath may not be related to you, under Maine law.
- In the past, desperate or sloppy signature-gatherers have left petitions unattended on store counters, at public supper tables or at fair booths. If the circulator has not witnessed each person signing the petition, every signature on that petition could be disqualified.
- In rare cases, petition-gatherers have pulled names out of phone books and copied them onto forms. This is a crime and is punishable under the law.
- Only registered Maine voters may circulate and sign petitions, regardless of party affiliation (or lack thereof). Individuals who sign and are not registered voters will not count toward the total.
- If someone who is not a registered Maine voter circulates a petition, none of the signatures on that petition can be counted.
- The voter must indicate the date on which he or she signed.
- If a voter cannot do so on his or her own, you may print his or her name, address and the date signed — but the voter must personally sign the petition.
- Once you affix your oath on a petition and date it, that petition form is closed, even if it only has one signature on it. If you then want to add signatures, you must start a new form.
- You must use the form approved by the Secretary of State, which will have affixed the copy of the law for the people’s veto. No pads of paper, no additional pages. You fill a form, you get another form.
- You cannot pay people to sign a petition!
- Only the voter may sign his or her own name. Many signatures are disqualified because the signature does not belong to the registered voter. Frequently, for instance, a couple will be approached and one says to the other, “Sign for me, too.” The Secretary of State’s Office matches up signatures to original voter registration cards, so this matters. Signatures made by another person are disqualified from the total.
- Voter participation in the petition is verified by the town clerk or registrar of voters, so it is important to keep petition forms segregated by town. There is no requirement to do this, but if you collect signatures of voters from Bingham, Buxton, Bucksport, Bangor and Bradley, you must take the same petition to each town to verify the status of the voters who signed.
- You must submit your signatures to the towns where you collected them not less than 5 days before the deadline for submission to the Secretary of State. If they are late, the town cannot verify them, even if they want to. This requierement is in the Constitution — Article IV, Part Third, Section 20.
- Top reasons why signatures are invalidated:
- Signatory was not a registered voter in the town specified.
- Circulator’s oath was not administered or was not done properly.
- Signature was a duplicate — voters can sign as many times as they want, but only one signature counts.
- Voter’s signature was crossed out. (There is no legal method for withdrawing a signature, but these are not counted because Elections Division staff doesn’t know why the signature was crossed out.)
- Signature was dated after the date of the circulator’s oath.
- Signature was not on the approved form.
- Signature was submitted after the deadline for town verification.
- Voter signature was made by another.
- Voter did not sign the form.
- The notary who affirmed the oath of the circulator was related to the circulator.
- Signatures invalidated because of material alterations to the petition (changed dates, detaching copy of the law, etc.)
- Petition invalidated because it could not be verified that the circulator was a registered Maine voter.
- Petition invalidated because certification of the registrar was not completed.
This all sounds very picky. But remember, you are dealing with a Secretary of State who is unfriendly to this effort. In the last people’s veto (on the tax reform issue), petitioners submitted more than 71,000 signatures, but because of the mistakes listed above, nearly 15,000 were kicked out. Your due diligence up front will assure that you succeed later.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!
Governor John Baldacci, left, receives a gift from former state Rep. Herb Adams, right, and PDCC Vice Chair Ralph Carmona. (Press Herald photo by Gordon Chibroski)
Many thanks to those of you who came last night. It was a great event. For those who missed the event, a leading DNC member said it was the best Truman Portland Democratic City Committee (PDCC) Dinner in memory.