Our state legislators are in their frantic final days in Augusta, voting on bills as fast as sardine packers use to cram the tiny fish into cans.

This is the first Legislative session since 1966 in which Republicans have majorities in both the House and Senate and have one of their own in the Blaine House. The Grand Old Party came to power, promising to get Maine back to work.

Of course, the assumption was that Maine was in worse shape than the nation as a whole. That premise is debatable. There are many states in the nation that are faring worse in terms of lack of jobs, home foreclosures, crime, etc.

The first few weeks of the Republican dominance was dominated by missteps by 38 Percent LePage. His crude comments, his bullying attitude, and his decision to create a tempest when one was not needed over a labor mural set the tone for 2011.

But he has kept a low profile in the past several weeks. Instead, some observers are pointing out that the new majority is trying to reverse generations of laws based on a tenuous mandate.

This week, for example, the Legislature voted to prevent Maine residents from registering to vote on Election Day. In fact, residents will not be able to register on the two previous business days before the election.

This bill has nothing to do with putting Mainers to work. This has nothing to do with strengthening the economy or making it easier for businesses to operate.

Apparently the Republicans believe that if they keep young people from voting, that their own jobs will be safer.

Republican Rep. Wes Richardson of Warren was the only local Republican House member to respond to a request for comments on the vote. Richardson said he supported the measure because local town clerks told him that same-day registration and voting puts too much of a burden on them.

In Rockland in November 2010, for example, 105 people registered to vote on Election Day.

So, the many people who do register on Election Day will be out of luck. That includes those people who are unfortunate enough to turn 18 within a few days of an election.

Republicans also tried, but fell short, of adding restrictions to Maine’s abortion laws. Again, this had nothing to do with creating jobs, improving the economy, or making life easier for businesses.

These proposals only failed because a few Republicans parted way with their party and voted to scuttle the legislation.

One bill that supporters said would have helped put people to work would have reimbursed business owners for payroll taxes they paid if they hired people who had been out of work for six months or more.

This legislation seemed like a no-brainer if the goal was to get people back to work. A majority of House members initially supported the measure but after the Republican-majority Senate rejected it, some House Republicans switched their votes and the measure died.

But in the world of politics, politicians often will vote against good legislation if it comes from the opposing party.

Reporting on Augusta from the office in Rockland has been made more feasible due to technology. The state government website reports on every roll-call vote taken. So each day, I peruse the list of roll-call votes and compile stories based on those votes. Keeping elected officials accountable is an important role for the media.

I send out emails to the local legislators asking for the reasons they voted the way they did on each of the roll calls and then publish that information.

After doing it for years, you can project with nearly pinpoint accuracy how a legislator will vote based on partisan divides. There are exceptions, however.

State Sen. Chris Rector, a Republican from Thomaston, was one of the few Republicans to vote against the new abortion restrictions.

Rector was also one of the very few Republicans to oppose the elimination of same-day registration and voting.

Rector joins with his fellow Republicans on most matters but has parted ways with them on key votes in the past. Two years ago, he was one of the very few Republicans to support the gay marriage law that later was repealed by Maine voters.

In the era of conservative Republicans controlling the state party, Rector’s moderating votes carry some political risk that could result in a challenge from within the GOP.

While he separates himself from the conservative wing, he is immensely popular in the electorate as a whole. Rector was such a strong candidate that the Democrats did not even put up a candidate against him in 2010.

The next legislative elections are 17 months away and that is a lifetime in politics. But voters are likely to remember votes such as the elimination of same-day registration.

In particular this will be remembered if social programs and educational assistance are in shambles because tax cuts were handed out to the wealthy.

Stay tuned.

Stephen Betts is associate editor. His commentary appears on Fridays.