WASHINGTON - While voter turnout in most of the country was the lowest since World War II last year, Maine had the best turnout among eligible voters in the nation.
A report from Nonprofit Vote calculated Maine's turnout at 58.5 percent of eligible voters. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says it's really not a surprise, given the hotly-contested races last November.
"The governor's race, the contested congressional race in the 2nd Congressional District, and the bear hunting referendum, which really attracted a lot of energy - I think all that taken together really explains why we were the top turnout," Dunlap says.
Another factor, Dunlap says, is that Maine's election laws are designed to make it easy for citizens to register and vote. He says while some states cut off voter registration weeks ahead of an election, in Maine you can register on Election Day and vote.
"We are still very much a town meeting state, so participation in the public dialog is something we place a high emphasis on, and a high value on," he says. "And the Legislature then makes that manifest in how they write the laws in regard to voter access."