Fliers posted around Bates campus 'deliberate attempt at voter suppression,' school president says

Flier causing controversy before Election Day

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — More than 30 fliers posted across the Bates College campus are a "deliberate attempt at voter suppression," according to the college president.

A student at Bates College brought attention through a Facebook post Saturday to signs being placed around campus warning students of certain requirements needed to vote in Tuesday's election.

"Would like to call attention to the 30+ disgusting signs my friends and I removed from the dining hall and the doors of a dorm this afternoon... If you see any more PLEASE take them down, and if you see someone putting them up (a tall blonde man) call Bates Security," said Sarah Frankie Sigman in a Facebook post.

The flier says, "BATES ELECTION LEGAL ADVISORY. IF YOU CHOOSE TO REGISTER AND VOTE IN LEWISTON YOU MUST: Pay to change your Driver's [sic] license to Lewiston, Maine within 30 days. Pay to Re-Register [sic] any vehicle you have in Lewiston."

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says this flier is false.

"If you establish residency in Maine, it is indeed the expectation that you obtain a Maine driver’s license and do other public business as a Maine resident," Secretary Dunlap said in a statement. "However, whether an individual obtains a Maine driver’s license or not has no impact on your ability to exercise your right to vote."

Bates President Clayton Spencer says someone is trying to convince her students not to vote on Tuesday. 

"This is clearly a deliberate attempt at voter suppression," Clayton said in a statement. "We are proud of our students' interest and participation in the electoral process, and I am deeply disturbed that anyone would seek to deter their exercise of the most basic form of citizenship. We at Bates College are doing everything possible to ensure that our students have clear information about how to register and vote."

Secretary Dunlap seems to agrees with President Clayton's opinion that someone is trying to keep Bates students from voting:

"Recent flyers that proclaim that if you register to vote in Maine, you must also immediately register your vehicle in Maine and immediately qualify for a Maine driver’s license appear to be targeting college students in order to discourage them from registering to vote and participating in their democratic form of self-governance."

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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