Weekly Radio Address: If freedom & liberty mean anything, it's casting our vote

Posted: November 13, 2011 | Senator Hobbins, Weekly Radio Address

Weekly Radio Address-Sen. Barry Hobbins 11-12-11

Good Morning. This is Senate Democratic Leader Barry Hobbins.

This week Maine voters sent a clear message: voting rights matter.

The resounding support for Question One, handily, delivered defeat to partisan sources with both a state and national agenda who attempted to take away same day voter registration.

Mainers saw through the frivolous claims of the majority party’s scare tactics—and spoke loud and clear: Mainers believe that the right to vote trumps the special interests of partisan politics.

Mainers do not believe in suppressing voting rights—especially when those rights are the very means by which lawmakers are held accountable to those they serve.

Across this country, Mainers have a reputation for our strong participation in elections—and we know that tampering with voting rights is a step in the wrong direction. And so, restoring same day voter registration is a victory for everyone!

Unfortunately, the fight to protect voting rights isn’t over.

In January, the legislature will be faced with yet another attempt to quash access to the voting booth. The majority party has proposed a measure requiring photo identification in order to vote.

At first glance, providing a photo ID may seem like an innocuous request. We have, after all, become a society familiar with having to prove that we are who we say we are. But this proposed measure is anything but harmless.

Voter ID is another measure that’s over-reaching and attempts to make voting more difficult.

There was a time in our nation’s history when there were lots of restrictions on who could vote. But as our country developed, and through lots of hard-fought battles, we took down barriers that were based on race, gender, and wealth. A cornerstone of our Democracy is the right to vote—the voice of the voter. And, today, we hold strong in protecting that long-held belief that voting should continue without unnecessary barriers.

Attacks, like these, on our voting rights are nothing more than an insult to Maine people. My Democratic colleagues and I have faith in Maine people. And, the system that has been in place for nearly forty years works perfectly. It’s a system that protects the integrity of the voter and deters fraudulent acts.

It was just yesterday—Veterans Day—that I, like so many of you, honored our veterans for their service to our country. In doing so, I couldn’t help but think about the unwavering commitment of our veterans has helped define and defend our country—our freedom.

And isn’t the fullest expression of Democracy and freedom one’s ability to participate in our government? If freedom and liberty mean anything, it is casting our vote on election day. There is no truer expression of freedom. Wars have been fought to protect this right. I hope that the next time a ballot is cast, we all remember what a precious and well-preserved right voting is for the sake of our democracy.

Please join me this weekend in thanking a veteran and their family for their service to our country—and our freedom.

This is Senate Democratic Leader, Barry Hobbins of Saco. Thank you for tuning in. And, remember the importance of Veterans Day.