CLEAN ELECTIONS ENFORCED
FROM THE MARCH 1, 2023 PRINTED EDITION OF THE BOSTON BROADSIDE
by Mary Lou Daxland
Editorial Advisory Board Member
The Maine Clean Election Act was created in 2000 – a program that gives taxpayer funds to candidates who collect donations of $5 from 50 residents, and collect signatures from at least 60 people in their district. Since 2000, five cases of election fraud have been handed over to the attorney general’s office.
Two of the five cases involved forgery. Bruce Ladd, who ran for House District 133 in 2008, submitted only seven false signatures and served 30 days in jail. Peter Throumoulos ran for state Senate in 2004 and 2006. He submitted150 signatures that were fraudulent. He was sentenced to four years in jail; 60 days suspended and 3 years of probation.
The latest to get caught is Democrat Rep. Clinton Collamore. Collamore served on the Waldoboro Board of Selectman for over 18 years before he was elected to the House in District 45 in November 2022, which represents the towns of Waldoboro, Friendship, Bremen, Louds Island, and Washington.
Collamore turned in 130 signatures – well over the amount required. Within that group there was found a number of signatures that have him now facing 20 counts of aggravated forgery and 11 counts of unsworn falsification. Added to that is one count of criminal violation of the Maine Clean Election Act.
So, what does this all mean? Collamore is facing a class B felony for aggravated forgery with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. A class D felony for unsworn falsification is 364 days in jail and a $2000 fine. A Class E crime for violation of the Clean Election Act carries a fine up to $10,000, a return of all funds given, and six months in jail with a $1000 fine from the state.
Collamore was challenged by Lynn Madison, a Republican from Waldoboro, as well. Madison lost to Collamore by 300 votes.
Democrat House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross has called for Collamore to resign. At this point he has been removed from a committee assignment, but has not yet resigned.
On Thursday, February 16th at the Lincoln County Courthouse, Collamore pleaded not guilty to 33 charges. He was released without having to post bail. He stated in writing that he would appear again in court. He is scheduled to appear on March 20th for a dispositional conference.
The district attorney’s office stated that the case could be settled by a plea bargain or move to a motion hearing or put on a jury trial docket.
Update: Collamore has now resigned from the House and will return all the pay he has received since he got elected.
There will be a date set for a special election. Republicans are hoping that Lynn Madison will run again as he lost to Collamore by only 300 votes. ♦