Election Day volunteers gathered more than 35,000 signatures in support of a 2012 ballot initiative that would allow marriage licenses for lesbian and gay couples in Maine, bringing the total gathered - in just 12 weeks - to more than 100,000 signers.
Amy Mello, EqualityMaine field director, shared the news with volunteers and Election Day organizers on a call from EqualityMaine's Brewer office this evening.
On the 9:00pm conference call Mello told an enthusiastic group of volunteers that with their hard work today, a total of roughly 100,000 signatures had been gathered since the effort began in late August.
"Not only were we incredibly successful at gathering signatures at the polls today, but volunteers all over the state met voters who have changed their minds on this issue in the last two years," said Betsy Smith, EqualityMaine Executive Director.
EqualityMaine filled more than 500 volunteer shifts, from Aroostook to York County and many places in between.
"The enthusiasm was incredible, we had a volunteer in Gardiner who kept calling to extend her shift because she was so excited at how many people were signing," Mello said.
Volunteers from around the state reported Mainers who said they'd had changes of heart since 2009. "I met a man today in Caribou, who told me he wouldn't have signed two years ago, but his daughter has now convinced him," said EqualityMaine Political Director Ali VanderZanden, who spent the day with volunteers in Aroostook County.
Smith said these changed minds are a result of the robust public education efforts by EqualityMaine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and a broad coalition of other organizations, since Mainers voted to repeal a law allowing marriage for lesbian and gay couples in 2009.
"There was definitely a feeling of momentum among the volunteers on Election Day," Smith said.