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Maine Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2008)

handle is hein.sag/sagme0007 and id is 1 raw text is: 2008-01
TEL: (207) 941-3070
FAX: (207) 941-3075
ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                          44 OAK STREET, 4TH FLOOR
PORTLAND, MAINE 04101-3014
TEL: (207) 822-0260
FAX: (207) 822-0259
STATE OF MiAINE TDD: (877) 428-8800
TEL: (207) 626-8800              OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL                 128 SWEDEN ST., STE. 2
TTY: 1-888-577-6690                   6 STATE HOUSE STATION                     TEL (207) 496-3792
AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333-0006                   FAX: (207) 496-3291
February 14, 2008
Honorable Richard M. Sykes
House of Representatives
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002
RE:    Student Voting
Dear Representative Sykes:
You have requested a legal opinion of this office regarding a bill (L.D. 203), rejected by
the First Regular Session of the 123r Legislature, that would have prohibited college students
from claiming residency in Maine for voting purposes if the students were living in housing
owned by the college or university and did not reside in that municipality prior to attending the
college or university. In particular, you have suggested that L.D. 203 was designed to implement
Article II, section 1 of the Maine Constitution and that voting against it would seem to violate a
legislator's oath to support the Constitution. Based on the court cases discussed below, it is our
opinion that the provisions of L.D. 203 are not required by Article II, section 1 of the Maine
Constitution. Moreover, L.D. 203, if enacted, might very well be found by a court to violate the
Equal Protection Clauses in Article I, section 6-A of the Maine Constitution and the Fourteenth
Amendment of the United States Constitution.'
Article II, section 1 of Maine's Constitution provides in relevant part (emphasis added):
Section 1. Qualifications of electors; written ballot; military servicemen; students.
Every citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years and upwards, ... 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; ...
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
While your specific question concerns the actions of legislators voting against L.D. 203 and the terms of their oath
of office, it is our practice to focus on the legal issue presented by the terms of a bill in issuing an opinion.


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