Millions of fliers are circulating on college campuses in the final days of the election, urging young voters to cast their ballots in favor of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
But at one college in Maine, an orange flier circulating in the dining hall and in dorms titled “Bates election legal advisory” disseminated false information in an attempt to discourage liberal-leaning students from voting.
“If you choose to register and vote in Lewiston, you must pay to change your driver’s license to Lewiston, Maine,” the flier said. “Pay to re-register any vehicle you have in Lewiston. This includes a Maine state vehicle inspection requirement. Usually hundreds of dollars in total.”
Voters in Maine can register to vote at the polls on Election Day, and there is no requirement to have a Maine-issued ID to vote or re-register your car to vote. A dorm room address is enough for a college student to vote in Maine.
Bates College, a small liberal arts school in Lewiston, sits within the state’s 2nd Congressional District, where Trump hopes to pick up what could be a crucial electoral vote.
The Bates student body usually votes overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic candidates.
Bates President Clayton Spencer said the fliers were “clearly a deliberate attempt at voter suppression.”
“There is nothing in Maine law that states that college students must change their driver’s licenses in order to vote,” Maine Democratic Party Chair Phil Bartlett said. “In fact, the secretary of state’s office has made explicitly clear that a dorm can be a student’s legal voting residence, and that paying out-of-state tuition does not preclude a student from voting.”
The group behind the flier was not named, despite a legal requirement that all election-related materials carry a disclaimer of who paid for the material.