The outgoing chairman of the Maine Republican Party says he's looking into reports that "dozens of black people" unfamiliar to local elections officials showed up to vote in rural Maine towns on Nov. 6, but the allegations drew criticism from Democrats and skepticism from state elections officials.
Charlie Webster said he has suspicions about voter fraud because hundreds of first-time voters registered on Election Day. He refused to say what towns he was talking about or reveal other specifics, but he said the allegations aren't racially motivated.
"It doesn't matter to me whether they're black or Chinese or Indonesian. The issue isn't that. The issue is that people have come into vote that no one had seen before," he said.
His allegations were first reported by WCSH-TV in Portland.
Megan Sanborn, spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said no one has complained to election officials about voter fraud and that there are no plans for an investigation.
She said Secretary of State Charlie Summers was surprised by Webster's allegations and said the office doesn't open investigations based on hearsay.
"We haven't received any phone calls regarding anyone concerned about voter fraud or anything along those lines," she said. "Secretary Summers feels that every Maine person has the right to vote and he encourages people to vote. Maine has one of the highest voter turnouts in the state and Secretary Summers is proud of that."
Nevertheless, Webster declined to back down Thursday, saying people who think there's no voter fraud "have their heads in the sand." He said he's concerned that get-out-the-vote efforts by Democrats and liberal groups may have crossed the line by getting ineligible voters to the polling places.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt characterized the allegations as sour grapes and noted that the GOP has made voter fraud accusations in the past that weren't borne out.
"It's sad to see that rather than reflecting on devastating losses of his party and going quietly, he continues to spew misinformation and to use fear-mongering as an excuse," she said.