turned away from polls
Dornbusch, Editor in Chief
This past Tuesday, at least ten Bowdoin students were
initially refused the right to vote by Town Registrar Pauline Brillant
when they attempted to register as Maine citizens in Brunswick. According
to Brillant, the students asked her questions regarding residency that
intimated that they were not interested in becoming residents of Maine,
but, rather, only wanted to use their Maine residency to vote this past
“Students were making statements to me that they only
wanted to register as Maine citizens so they could vote in this one election,”
Several students were alarmed when Brillant informed
them that they could be arrested for voting as Maine residents.
Brillant contends that she told the students, “If they
are knowingly on voting lists for two states, and they know they are actively
listed in both states, then they are committing a crime.” Students
who were initially denied the right to vote returned to Bowdoin to seek
assistance from the government department. After receiving emails from
several students, government professor Mark Hetherington offered assistance.
“I was sympathetic with the registrar’s position,”
commented Hetherington, “because the students didn’t provide her with
clear answers regarding their residency.”
Hetherington argued, though, “The students are residents
of Maine for eight months out of the year, and the registrar should facilitate
students in their desire to vote, rather than discourage them.”
Professor Hetherington called Brillant and was able
to reach an agreement that, if the students explicitly told her they were
residents of Brunswick, she would allow them to register as Maine residents
“Once I talked to the professor, I agreed with him
and decided it was up to the students to look into the law regarding residency
in a state,” remarked Brillant.
In addition, Tom Allen ’67, congressman for this district
of Maine, sent an attorney to Brunswick in an effort to assist students.
Following Hetherington’s discussion with Brillant, the students who were
initially denied ballots were allowed to register as Maine residents and
cast their vote.
“The students persevered through the entire process,
particularly those students who had to return several times to try and
vote,” commented Hetherington.
Brillant stated, “I really try not to give people a
“I don’t think it’s a matter of anyone in the town
not doing their job.
“I don’t think anyone in the town had impure motives.
Then again, the students’ motives were also not impure. The students were
well within the law, “ commented Hetherington.
polls were filled Tuesday as voters cast their votes for the national
and local elections. (Nicholas J. LoVecchio/Bowdoin Orient).