September 21, 2010
Contact: Matthew Dunlap

Orono Registrar of Voters Susan Hart is Conferred the Lorraine M. Fleury Award by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

BANGOR, MAINE—The opening luncheon of Maine’s two-day Elections Conference for municipal clerks and registrars of voters was kicked off by the presentation by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap of the prestigious Lorraine M. Fleury award to Orono Registrar of Voters Susan I. Hart.

Each year, the Secretary of State solicits nominations for the award, named for long-time state Director of Elections Lorraine M. Fleury. The award is presented to recognize and honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the election process and who exemplifies the qualities of fairness, experience, knowledge and service.

?The integrity and efficiency of the election process depends almost entirely on the devoted service of municipal elections officials,? said Dunlap. ?It?s always a challenge to single any one of them out, but the acknowledgement and praise from co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, and the elected officials who also serve our communities makes this an incredibly gratifying process.?

The 2010 Lorraine Fleury Award winner makes voting possible and accessible for Maine’s largest college student population, at the University of Maine. Sue Hart began working for the Town of Orono on January 2, 1991—nearly 20 years ago. She was originally hired as a deputy clerk, deputy tax collector and assisted the Board of Voter Registration. In 2001, Sue became the Registrar of Voters, although she has maintained her position as Deputy Clerk and Deputy Tax Collector.

Sue Hart has made a commitment to her community and career through continuing education and training, and received her lifetime certification as a municipal clerk in 2007, and also reaches out to her colleagues through her work as member of the Penobscot County Clerks Association.

Faced with an organized effort to challenge the eligibility of Maine voters attending the University of Maine to vote in the 2006 election, Sue oversaw the challenge process with grace and calm, and assured that the process was carried out fairly and transparently. Orono’s experience in that election led to major reforms in the challenge process that were subsequently adopted by the Maine Legislature. Because of the diligence of Sue Hart and her colleagues in Orono, the right of all Mainers to cast their vote is assured.

In the election of 2008, Sue Hart served nearly 2,700 new voters and almost 800 address changes between October 1st and Election Day—perhaps the greatest enrollment surge, per capita, of any organized municipality in the state.

?Orono is a college town, and thousands of students are part of the resident population,? said State Representative Emily Cain, D-Orono and House Chair of the Legislature?s Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. ?And while students spend only a few years living in Orono, Sue Hart has made sure that they are able to fully exercise their rights as Maine voters, and she makes it look easy. Despite all the change and transition in the town?s population, no one can question the integrity of Orono?s elections.?

In addition to her work as a town official, Sue Hart has also been active in the national organization Chemo Angels since 2000. Chemo Angels is dedicated to the support of people who are fighting cancer. Chemo Angels supports patients through notes, cards and occasional small gifts that bring cheer and encouragement to people fighting cancer, and remind patients that they have support as they endure the difficult treatment of chemotherapy. “Fighting cancer herself, Sue Hart is a beacon of courage for all of us,” said Julie Flynn, Deputy Secretary of State. “She’s a pleasure to work with, and we are so happy to honor her.”