Franklin Countys First News

Voter complaints received at the Farmington polls

FARMINGTON - Town Clerk Leanne Dickey confirmed she did receive some complaints alleging a man was confronting University of Maine at Farmington students outside the polls on Tuesday, asking if they were registering to vote and if they were from out of state.

Bill Crandall of Farmington said he did stand on the front lawn at the polls in the Farmington Community Center next to a large poster display of information about voter registration procedures taken from the Maine Secretary of State's online page titled Maine Voting Residence Fact Sheet. He said he asked people on the sidewalk passing by if they intended to register to vote and if they had an out-of-state driver's license. He also asked if they would want more information on the state's voter registration law.

"I was providing information on how out-of-state people can register to vote. I was nice to everyone," he said. "I thanked them for voting. I never told anyone they couldn't vote."

Dickey said she received complaints about Crandall as a good turnout of voters filed into the polls on Tuesday. "I did check on him," she said. Dickey and other poll workers along with three voter rights advocates at the polls kept an eye on Crandall through the day. Crandall handed out flyers with information that included eligibility requirements to register and vote in Maine, steps to establish a residence and the possible ramifications of registering to vote in Maine. The fact sheet notes if "you register to vote in Maine, you will be deemed to have declared residency in Maine, which may require compliance with other Maine laws, including the motor vehicle laws and tax laws."

Crandall said he wanted to make sure people registering to vote by establishing their residency knew that they might be required to change their driver's license, pay Maine state taxes and register a motor vehicle within 30 days of moving here.

However, according to the Secretary of State's fact sheet to be eligible to register to vote in Maine there are only three requirements: a person needs to be a citizen of the United States; be at least 17 years old to vote in primary elections and 18 by the general election; and have established a residence in the municipality where the person wants to vote.

A section states that the ability of students to "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."

Dickey consulted with Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap who confirmed that Crandall was within his First Amendment rights of free to talk with voters outside the polls. "He wasn't influencing voters; he was giving information about voter registration," she said.

She also noted that reports that Crandall had managed to turn away 50 people wanting to register to vote was not true. Three people, all residents of other towns, were told they needed to vote at the polls in their hometown. All three happened to be in Farmington and thought it would be more convenient to vote here.

"He did not turn anyone away to register to vote," Dickey said.

Crandall said he decided to provide information about voter registration laws at the polls for the midterm election because he felt there wasn't enough information provided by the Secretary of State.

"I was watching the TV news and saw how cavalier the Secretary of State (Dunlap) was about the (voter registration) law. There's no way I don't want people to vote," he said and added, "I wanted to provide some education."

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48 Responses »

  1. It would be very nice to go to the polls and not have candidates, petitioners, and others outside the door. I for one would like to just have a clear path into vote and to exit.

  2. So, having been put off by Secretary of State Dunlap's "cavalier" handling of the matter of voter registration, Mr. Crandall takes it upon himself to initiate the job of sworn registrars set up for business inside the Community Center.
    As one who handled registration chores at Farmington elections and caucuses for several years, I recall no instances when neither I nor and other registrars were not competent to answer applicants' questions or point them in the right direction for any clarification we weren't able to supply. Never did any of us ever think it a good idea to post unannounced an unknown stranger with no credentials on the front lawn to possibly confuse rather then enlighten young voters.

  3. While he may have been cordial and friendly, I believe Mr. Crandall crossed the line into attempted voter suppression. I suspect it had the opposite effect though. I heard students recruit other students to vote because of what was going on. It seemed to fire people up.

  4. Politics has made us insane. I saw a candidate at the door going in. We smiled and said hi, but I just like to vote and leave. I don't sign the petitions or, I guess, look around much. I try to be on my best behavior.

  5. A fair reading of the article suggests to me that Ms Dickey is/was not terribly concerned about Crandall and has no idea of the effect Crandall may have on voters, potential or otherwise

    Crandall is sure as hell is free to run his mouth and make a fool out himself and embarrass the town butt it none of his biz asking any voter about his/her driving license or anything else

  6. Vote absentee. Less BS

  7. I don't think UMF students should be complaining. They should act like adults, go register ahead of time, and vote absentee. But typically, they have not thought ahead enough to act appropriately. I've worked on the Registration table. They truly ask the dumbest questions. Wouldn't you think UMF, being a place of education, would give these kids some kind of hand-out that would help? Nope. They'd rather complain.

  8. Bill your efforts are appreciated but Farmington is far too gone. This is not a farming community anymore. It has been taken over by knit hat wearing dope smoking liberals. Time to let it go.

  9. I've read the UMF email tread that was sent out, people in the UMF system were clearly spreading lies about what Bill was doing to rally up the students, thats the sad part.

  10. Gee Chuck, not such a fan of free speech when it doesn’t go your way huh?

  11. Amen Captain Planet! Franklin County is being TAKEN OVER by the Libs and our new evil salmon overlords. So few of the sheeple of FARMington realize that the demon salmon thrive on liberal tears! The Walton Dam project is a meer distraction as they milk the knit hat wearing UMF students for their salty eye juice, further fueling the river in which they spawn. (spreading their lib agenda further north) And the NERVE of these people ingesting a plant. You call it dope, I call it WEED. As in SEAweed. Are you connecting the dots? Exactly. Look who's "hooked" now. Oh how the turns have tabled. All part of the liberal salmon agenda. Too bad Cap't Crunch and I seem to be the only level headed smart Repubs who can see right through this fishy plan. You all keep tokin your SEAweed and insulating your heads with your CRAZY knit hats and we'll just kick back and watch FARMington fall apart while we enjoy our milt and cookies.

  12. Ya mon you catch on quick! Smokey’s been saying this town has gone to pot!

  13. This is why I always vote absentee. No pressure, no interference.

  14. It’s called free speech people get over it. Thanks Bill for taking the time to talk to people.

  15. @Pvt Planet

    .
    Gee Chuck, not such a fan of free speech when it doesn’t go your way huh?

    Not at all, he's entitled as any other ding bat citizen to speak up on what concerns him, what his complaint is nothing more than that the students at UMeFarmington shouldn't be "permitted" to vote in local elections......and everyone knows that!!!

    If "Daffydill" is working at the "registration table" in any official capacity, she (assumed) shouldn't be, she should focus on educating the voter having questions, dumb or otherwise

  16. There are some additional aspects of this event that need discussion. First, the Secretary of State's office made an immediate determination that Bill Crandall did not attempt to deter anyone from voting. They reached this conclusion without a meaningful investigation and without speaking to the UMF students who reported they had been intimidated. A federal offense occurred at our polling place but they brushed it off. Second, Mr. Crandall should be reminded that he is a visible face for a local non-profit that works for the betterment of marginalized populations. He may be a private citizen, but his actions have caused embarrassment for some of those he works with. Lastly, the Town of Farmington allowed this activity to take place on our public property. Despite the complaints of several citizens, the on-site town official chose to let this activity go on for over six hours. Rather than ask Mr Crandall to remove his intimidating sign from the front lawn of our Community Center, they enabled him by allowing this to take place just 20 feet from the front door. Charges should be brought against Mr Crandall, and the Town Selectmen should review their relevant town policies.

  17. looks like another Obama election how many people casted votes that don’t have the legal right to vote in our state ???? better check to see how many head stones voted as well !!!!!!

  18. Did he put this banner up on town property? Did he drive posts into the lawn? Did he camp out there all day? I would have questions about this. I'll bet that any UMF student who thought that voting was important would not be coerced by a right wing nut job. These aren't naive kids; they are young adults entering an adult world.

  19. Chuck Davis: You are NOT a resident of Farmington. Hell, you're not even a resident of Maine. But typically, those who think they know what's going on MUST share their knowledge (ugh!)
    Yes, I WORKED the Registration Table years ago. I have declined to work it in the past 15 years. Just am amazed at the lack of knowledge the student population frequently exhibits.

  20. Captain Planet What color is the sky where you come from? Most people can see through BULL! The Republican party has become the ME party. There is no ME in the UNITED STATES but there is US in the USA

  21. Bill, thanks for trying to inform students what their obligations are too be able to vote where they go to school. People should look at the Maine Constitution, it clearly states people need too vote in the tpwn they reside in. Because someone goes to school in Farmington does not make them a resident of Farmington. They should vote absentee at the town they come from.

  22. I'm from the Farmington area and have been registered as a voter in every municipality I've lived in. As a student and someone who has worked out of state for years at a time, that has frequently meant registering with the address I was temporarily staying at, while my legal state of residence (and permanent address) remained Maine for decades. Since I was in said municipalities as a citizen working in the area, often as a student paying taxes that way, and since I paid local taxes while there, AND according to law (as verified by Dunlap in this article) I had every right to vote. If someone had harangued me about the details of my residency I would certainly have felt it was an invasion of privacy and clear attempt to dissuade me from voting. I share the outrage of the students who were approached outside the polls. I'm thrilled that this outrage increased voter turnout. As for the hand-wringing about how people from away are ruining my hometown, puhleeze. The college has been there for how long??? Generations! It has created jobs and prosperity in a region that has been otherwise deforested, depleted, and well on its way to decrepit via forces that have Nothing to do with the youth of today, and Everything to do with the coices made over decades. Many students made Farmington and the surrounding towns their home, and have built successful businesses that provide employment. I embrace the new voices and new opinions, because let's face it, the region is reaping the grim harvest of the old ways. Bitterness and isolationism and, well, there's no better word for it, prejudice masquerading as nostalgia is more than a little bizarre but when I visit home I find I'm hearing it everywhere. What I personally am nostalgic for is a sense of community and possibility, excitement at seeing the students come in with their diversity and exuberance! I miss the sense that all are welcome at the businesses, the churches, the bean suppers, the town meetings and definitely the polls. If we're going to was nostalgic about farming, there are many cliches that would fit this bruha nicely: you reap what you sow is the first one that comes to my mind.

  23. One of my best friends in college was a retired navy chief. I'll bet Chief could have walked right on in without a glance from Bill. I wonder what people would think if they knew that Judge Ben Butler, whose son later became my good friend, came to our dormitory with registration materials, absentee ballots, and patience and understanding to help us vote in the election. He wasn't interested in voter suppression. He was interested in voter rights. Now that I think of it, he was probably a RINO, as was my father, and of course, I. One good man can be a guiding star in a dark night.

  24. Daffydill: You are correct, I currently live in Tulsa, Oklahoma I grew up in Farmington and am a graduate of the Mallett School, old FHS, now UMe, and the University of Tulsa College of Law. I taught school in Maine and Connecticut prior to going to Tulsa.

    I’m a tax paying ($1,000+) property owner (30+ years) in Farmington with practically no service demands asked of my tax dollar.

    I’m in town generally once a year or so to attend to my property and to stay connected to the town and old friends. I attended a Farmington HS Old Timers Reunion in September which was really a special treat for me. I was saddened to have Ron Pratt accuse me of picking on him as Greenwood Ave neighbors a long time ago, it was not true and Ron knows it!!!

    Otherwise throughout the year I support and contribute to any number of area and local entities, schools/social group/historical societies/libraries/scholarships/private fire losses and the like (like it or lump it or tell me to shut up!).

    If anyone thinks Bill Crandall would not have gone home happy if he thought he had stopped or intimidated a single student from voting they’re putting something stronger than raisons in their oatmeal!

    As others have suggested, the last thing that Farmington needs is to have this matter be investigated by *any* authority up the food chain.

  25. @Hutch you are so right about UMF. They pound liberalism into the students. Conservative students are tread upon and pushed into the background.

  26. @Pvt Planet?? Oh Chucky, you so silly....

  27. Now, Cap’t Crunch, that’s funny Temple Elvis!! Enjoy your posts!

  28. It it safe to assume the snowflakes of Maine have vacated their ‘safe spaces’? I think me and Elvis are going to be looking for one come January.

  29. @Pvt Planet?? Oh Chucky, you so silly....

    Maybe. let's just call it an attempt to point to a grade you are better suited (or dressed) for

    …………nothing personal, don't be discouraged, keep at it, there's room for improvement and grade advancement in all of us!

  30. @Shelly Hooper: You NAILED it!

    "As for the hand-wringing about how people from away are ruining my hometown, puhleeze. The college has been there for how long??? Generations! It has created jobs and prosperity in a region that has been otherwise deforested, depleted, and well on its way to decrepit via forces that have Nothing to do with the youth of today, and Everything to do with the choices made over decades. Many students made Farmington and the surrounding towns their home, and have built successful businesses that provide employment. I embrace the new voices and new opinions, because let's face it, the region is reaping the grim harvest of the old ways. Bitterness and isolationism and, well, there's no better word for it, prejudice masquerading as nostalgia is more than a little bizarre but when I visit home I find I'm hearing it everywhere."

  31. Free speech is fine but Mr. Crandall should have got his facts straight. Better still, leave well alone. When you have an underlying political agenda you have no place trying to covertly influence people not to vote.

  32. Great letter, Shelley

  33. Perfect example if hypocrisy is Shelley comment.
    Since Shelley has the answer according to some..let's take a further look at her my way or the highway agenda..

    From Shelley,
    Bitterness and isolationism and, well, there's no better word for it, prejudice masquerading as nostalgia is more than a little bizarre but when I visit home I find I'm hearing it everywhere. What I personally am nostalgic for is a sense of community and possibility, excitement at seeing the students come in with their diversity and exuberance! I miss the sense that all are welcome at the businesses, the churches, the bean suppers, the town meetings and definitely the polls. If we're going to was nostalgic about farming, there are many cliches that would fit this bruha nicely: you reap what you sow is the first one that comes to my mind.

    So,, she said she wants a sense of "community". But what she describes as community is strictly "her way with her people'. She blasts everyone else. Then says wants community?? Just keep preaching to your own choir and time will show that you made no difference in this world.

    Shelley, congratulations on being part of the problem.
    If that's your goal then "Yes,you nailed it".
    Otherwise,, just another angry rant from another know it all.

  34. Next election, Bill Crandall may be out there giving literacy tests to determine who can vote. Or maybe he'll be asking whether you're a male property owner. When you are willing to violate people's constitutional rights, where does it end? His excuse about voter education is such a load of nonsense. His actions were based on self-interest in pursuit of his own political agenda.

  35. Yes Shelley Great Lecture, u really nailed it !!

    The world sucks, it's the old peoples fault and students are being picked on.

    I had the same view,, when I was 12.

    Good luck fixing anything.

  36. For all who believe that students should be denied their legal right to vote in Farmington, might I suggest contacting your elected officials and ask them to amend the law. Opinions are opinions, and laws are laws. The fact of the matter is that these people are within their legal rights to register and vote.

  37. Article II.
    Electors.

    Section 1. Qualifications of electors; written ballot; military servicemen; students. Every citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years and upwards, excepting persons under guardianship for reasons of mental illness, having his or her residence established in this State, shall be an elector for Governor, Senators and Representatives, in the city, town or plantation where his or her residence has been established, if he or she continues to reside in this State; and the elections shall be by written ballot. But persons in the military, naval or marine service of the United States, or this State, shall not be considered as having obtained such established residence by being stationed in any garrison, barrack or military place, in any city, town or plantation; nor shall the residence of a student at any seminary of learning entitle the student to the right of suffrage in the city, town or plantation where such seminary is established. No person, however, shall be deemed to have lost residence by reason of the person's absence from the state in the military service of the United States, or of this State.

  38. I believe the students are as diverse in their opinions as the rest of us. If you actually talk with them......
    Debate/arguing is what a society will legally do. I think the students can process that just fine.
    If this guy was doing anything beyond that,, that would be a problem.
    If not,, let it be.

  39. Mr. Crandall is being less than honest and benevolent. I spoke with four different UMF students about this, each of whom said Crandall did not ask if they were from out of state. He asked them if the were "from here" or "a resident here," implying from Farmington. As Maine law clearly state states college students are allowed to register to vote in the town where they attend college, be it Farmington, Orono, Waterville, Bangor, or Portland / Gorham. They are not allowed to vote in two municipalities but may absolutely vote where they go to school. Mr. Crandall's intent was not to helpfully "educate students," as he claimed, but to dissuade UMF students from voting in the town of Farmington -- something they are absolutely allowed to do by law. To conflate the right of a college to vote with registering a vehicle or obtaining a new driver's license is completely dishonest. Shame on you, Bill Crandall.

  40. The voting age should be at least 25. What do coddled college kids know about the real world? Nothing until you’ve lived it...Most get their first exposure from radical leftist professors that have no comprehension of the ‘real’ world. A few however (thankfully) do have parents that actually taught them how to cross the street.

  41. I don’t always agree with Bill but he is spot on this time. He is an honorable man truly concerned with our best interests.

  42. Wonder what party he is with

  43. I rather expect that more than a few kids, college or otherwise, under 25, have paid the ultimate tuition learning about the real world

  44. Every encounter I have had with Mr. Crandall and his family has been caring, honest and outstanding. Bill and his family cares a great deal for our community. ESPECIALLY those living in poverty and the elderly. It would seem to me that he has some concerns about upholding voter laws because he is a honest and forthright man. Is it possible that there may be some wrongs taking place? That really is the question that needs to be asked AND answered by those in charge of tallying the people’s votes. Let’s not tear down good people.

  45. Chuck, your absolutely right. But in today's world 18 is not considered an adult with regard to health insurance, alcohol, or buying firearms. Basically we tell them they are not mature enough to make smart decisions unless its to join the military or vote. Kind of messed up logic.

  46. Bill is a good person who cares and if people were being deterred by him, that's on them. This shouldn't even be a thing.

  47. Thank you Captain Planet and Temple Elvis. I also appreciate that Mr. Crandall took the time out of his day to educate potential voters. UMF's motto is "beaver pride deep inside". Lets see if I get censored for stating a truth. I love trying to drive through down town Farmington. I hear "Kumbaya" playing through the church loudspeaker as I wait minutes at each cross-walk while sedentary students casually lumber across the street like horses with feed bags on. Farmington is no longer a farming community. It's a petri dish for culturing liberal and socialist ideologies. Janet Mills hailed from there, and now we will see income and sales taxes raised.

  48. PonTron, right on the mark. It is obvious that although the college teachers many things, common sense is not one of them. Watch our future leaders step right off the sidewalk and not even look to see if a vehicle is there. It's a crosswalk and by God, I have the right to be in it. Dead is dead, next time you students who are so much smarter then me because I don't have a college education but make more money then you ever will teaching, do as I and look before crossing. Perhaps the college could offer a class about common sense!!

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