The Mysterious Black People of Maine

I’ve not been to Maine in years, but there was a time when I frequented the state and knew it pretty well. And, my recollection is that almost everybody there is white or whitish. Hardly any black people. I looked it up just now: Maine is 12th from the bottom among us states in terms of percent “black” with about 1%.

Now, here’s the thing. Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog is reporting on comments mad by Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster’s concern that on election day, “Dozens of black people” showed up out of nowhere and voted. Here’s Charlie:

“Pat” is “Part” so that’s “Some parts of the state” not “Some pats of the state.”

That post card should trick those black people into not responding to the post card, and thus, be certain that they really weren’t there.

Bottom line: The guy who is in charge of a state political party is checking on people’s race. For that, we have THIS. Charlie’s activities need to be investigated by the FBI, and if he really is seeking ways to keep black people from voting in Maine (all 1% of them) he should be prosecuted. Mean time, the Maine GOP needs to fire him.

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    November 15, 2012

    Mr. Webster does not explain why somebody intending to commit voter fraud would drive all the way to Maine to do so when (a) to get to Maine you have to drive through New Hampshire (or cross the Canadian border); (b) New Hampshire, unlike Maine, is an actual swing state; and (c) New Hampshire, like Maine, allows same-day voter registration.

    I also note his refusal to disclose which town(s) the alleged improper voters voted in.

    IIRC this was the guy who earlier claimed that college students from out of state who vote in Maine are committing voter fraud. Courts have repeatedly upheld the right of college students to vote in the precinct where they live while attending classes, something which Republicans throughout northern New England choose to ignore–we had a similar issue with our outgoing yahoos in the NH state legislature trying to stop students from voting here.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 15, 2012

    I have no problem believing that some people saw some black people they had not previously met and became frightened. But one small black person will be interpreted as a dozen large ones every time in certain parts.

  3. #3 Tom Hunt
    November 15, 2012

    Wow! Dozens! Out of nowhere, even. I think Charlie needs a little help with that ‘math’ stuff. Maine’s population is listed as 1.3% Black and 1.5% persons reporting 2 or more races. That 1.3% means there are about 17,000 Blacks. If 13% of those claiming 2 or more races ‘look’ Black, that’s another 2,600.

    So out of almost 20,000, dozens showed up to vote. Charlie would be apoplectic if he lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

    MF

  4. #4 Marnie
    November 16, 2012

    Have you noticed that the GOP consider it “fraud” when eligible citizens turn up to vote? It’s almost like they thought the 15th and 19th amendments were just symbolic.

    Guess what, GOP, what you hate isn’t fraud, it’s democracy.

  5. #5 Eric Lund
    November 16, 2012

    @Tom: It’s even more ridiculous than that. Mr. Webster didn’t say where these alleged incidents occurred. In college towns, of course students who vote will be people most townies haven’t seen before, and some of those students would be black. Portland, which passes for a big city in Maine, presumably has a greater than average fraction of black people, and it’s big enough that everybody won’t know everybody else in town. Lewiston has a Somali immigrant community, some of whom may be US citizens by now, and being mostly Muslims, they probably don’t go to the same church as your average white Lewistonian. A black stranger voting in any of these places would be a “bear defecates in woods” level story. But much of Maine is not like that.

    Apparently Mr. Webster also mentioned an Asian guy as one of these mysterious voters. In case you haven’t noticed, dude, there are Chinese restaurants in your state, and IME most such restaurants are owned and operated by ethnic Chinese, some of whom are US citizens.

    I don’t doubt that there are people in Maine, especially in the more rural parts, who have never seen a black person in the flesh before. I also don’t doubt that some will find their first encounter with a person of a different race frightening, especially given the propaganda on Fox and right-wing radio.

  6. #6 DuaneBidoux
    November 16, 2012

    Big surprise: another clueless Republican.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

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