LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Maine’s top elections official is concerned. That no label is enrolling voters in his third-party presidential effort. As the well-funded centrist organization tries to get. On ballots across the country in 2024.
Maine Secretary of State Shanna Bellows last month sent a stop. And-desist letter to No Label and official mail to every voter registered with the party. Following what she said were many complaints from local clerks. And voters who said No Label organizers had misled voters. Maine election officials say No Labels may be misleading voters in its third-party push.
Voter after voter is telling my team that they were told they were signing a petition
They were not told they were changing their political party. Bellows, who is a Democrat, said in an interview Monday. “We’ve had enough similar complaints from voters and clerks alike. That it raises serious concerns in our office about the organizers of the No Label Party.”
No Label is trying to get to the ballot in states across the country. As it prepares to mount. What could be the strongest third-party presidential campaign in a generation. Democrats worry that their candidate could be a spoiler. Who would help re-elect former President Donald Trump.
The close-knit Washington-based group. Whose co-chairs include former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman. And former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, has yet to pick a candidate. But is hoping for someone like moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. .V., with plans to elect its ticket next spring. Maine election officials say No Labels may be misleading voters in its third-party push.
In Maine, Bellows said voters complained
They were signing a petition when they were actually signing. A voter registration form that enrolled them in the new No Label Party. It would bar them from participating in the Republican. Or Democratic primaries, which are open only. To members of those parties or independent voters.
The problem first arose after local clerks received. An unusual number of complaints from voters. Who were surprised to find they were registered with no labels, Bellows said. His office then decided to send a letter to more than 6,000 voters. Who are not registered with a label in the state, making sure. They are aware of their registration status and telling them how to change it if necessary.
The letter then asked voters to contact his office “if you believe you have been misled to change your list.” Bellows’ office said more than 300 voters called or emailed in response.
He also sent a cease-and-desist letter to No Label warning
Them that using the word “petition” is “misleading. And that its organizers must start “disclosing” to voters. That they are asking them to change their party registration.
Bellows said the stories from voters were consistent with voters reporting. They were approached at home or in public places like supermarket parking lots.
New parties must register 5,000 voters to qualify for the ballot in Maine. And Bello said there is no such problem with other third parties active in the state.
“And we continue to get complaints from constituents,” Bellows said. “We had at least two calls this morning.”
No label officials denied any wrongdoing and fired back at Bellows. Accusing him of and targeting them arguing. That his actions could amount to voter suppression. Maine election officials say No Labels may be misleading voters in its third-party push.
Said Benjamin Chavis Jr., a civil rights leader. And former top NAACP official who is now No Label’s vice president. “Doesn’t any label think something is wrong? The answer is yes.”
The group said it asked its organizers to join the Voter No Label Party. And note that the form voters signed was titled “Maine Voter Registration Application.”
“We expect Maine’s Secretary of State to refrain from any acts of voter suppression. And voter intimidation or unfair denial of ballot access,” Charvis added.
The Arizona Democratic Party sued to block No Labels on the ballot in key swing states
Accusing the new parties of violating state laws governing them. “Arizonadians deserve…to know who is behind this shady organization. Aaid Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Morgan Dick.
No label officials called the lawsuit “undemocratic and unethical.”
Statewide, Maine has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992. But it is one of only two states that divides its Electoral College votes by congressional district. One of which is competitive and favored Trump in both 2016 and 2020.