When Portland's city councilors passed the $185 million 2008-09 budget on Monday evening, they saved the Reiche branch of the Public Library (at least for now), but slashed 10 of the city's polling places. This will save approximately $15,000. The cuts will NOT affect voters on June 10 (the upcoming primary election), but the impact may be felt in November.
Not surprisingly, the League of Young Voters and the Cumberland County Green Independent Party are pissed. They're equating the cuts to poll taxes, and predicting lower voter turnout as a result.
"Closing polls affect young people getting out to vote - because many young people
live in the most urban areas of the city and don't have access to a car," the League's new director Harris Parnell said in an email blast sent out to supporters. "Many
young people also work two to three jobs to make ends meet: when the lines at
the polls are too long, they won't wait."
Meanwhile, Cumberland County Green chair Morgan D'Arc said this in a press release: "If Cliff and Great Diamond Island residents want to vote on Election Day they will have to pay for a ferry ride. This sounds like a poll tax to me."
Luckily, "Maine law makes it easy to cast an absentee ballot," Secretary of State Matt Dunlop tells us at the Elections Bureau website.