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choice voting looms over Maine election

Time:2018-11-09 09:08Turbochargers information Click:

Choice Looms over Voting Maine

Maine Republicans and Democrats will head to the polls on Tuesday, June 12, to vote in the first-in-the-nation statewide election using ranked-choice voting. And all voters will be able to cast ballots to decide if they want to continue to use the ranked-choice method in the future.

In this primary election, seven Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the right to go on to the general election in November as their party’s choice for governor. State representative and senate candidates will also appear on the ballot. The only contested race on June 12, however, is for the Democratic candidate in District 2 (Eliot, parts of Kittery and South Berwick). Eliot residents Michele Meyer and Kimberley Richards are vying to run in November against Eliot Republican Dan Ammons.

In addition, Eliot voters will be casting ballots on their town budget as well as electing candidates to local offices. Kittery voters will be voting on the school budget and on a nine-article town ballot as well. Eliot and South Berwick voters will be asked to validate the MSAD 35 budget passed at a school town meeting in May. York has no local initiatives, as voters cast ballots in May.

Uncontested Democratic and Republican candidates for county treasurer, registrar of deeds, and county sheriff, as well US Congress and House will also appear on the ballot. Democratic District Attorney Kathryn Slattery has no Republican challenger on the primary ballot.

Ranked-choice election

Democrat and Republican voters will have the opportunity to rank their candidates for governor according to first, second, third, etc. choice. There will be voting instructions at the polls in each town on Election Day. For more information, visit

Unenrolled voters who wish to cast ballots in this primary can enroll in a party up to and including June 12.

First round choices will be tallied by the town clerks that night. If no single candidate in either party receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then ballots or memory devices from every town in the state will travel to Augusta for second and subsequent rounds until a candidate is chosen. This process could take up to two weeks, depending on the number of rounds that are necessary, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The seven Democratic candidates are Adam Cote, Donna Dion, Mark Dion, Mark Eves, Diane Russell, Janet Mills and Elizabeth “Betsy” Sweet. The Republicans are Kenneth Fredette, Garrett Mason, Mary Mayhew and Shawn Moody.

According to the 11-day pre-election campaign finance report filed with the Maine Ethics Commission on June 1, a few candidates are emerging in both parties as competitive based on money raised to date.

On the Democratic side, Sanford businessman Adam Cote garnered $968,278, more money than any candidate of either party. Betsy Sweet, a lobbyist for progressive issues in Augusta, came in second with $797,713. Attorney General Janet Mills was close behind, with $718,300. North Berwick resident and former House Speaker Mark Eves had $343,270.

Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason had the largest campaign chest on the Republican side, with contributions totaling $736,750, and Gorham businessman Shawn Moody was not far behind, with $686,405. Former Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew had raised $360,205, filling out the top tier of candidates for contributions.

Question 1

This question asks voters if they want to continue ranked-choice voting in the future. This is a “citizens veto” of a law passed by the Legislature that, among other things, delayed implementation of ranked-choice voting in any election until 2022 and then gets rid of it altogether if nothing has been done to amend the Constitution by 2021.

The Constitution mandates that general elections in November must be decided by a plurality of votes – whoever gets the most votes wins – rather than a majority of the vote, more than 50 percent. The Maine Supreme Court issued an advisory ruling that ranked-choice voting could not be used in statewide races in general elections – but could be used in primaries and in federal elections. Question 1 will allow the current system to remain in place for primary and federal voting, and will give proponents time to push for a Constitutional amendment to govern general elections.

The crux of the argument in favor of Question 1 is that it allows voters to have more voice and more power in deciding who their elective representatives will be. Those opposed, which includes the Maine Republican Party, argue that it violates the one person, one vote dictum.

All voters are able to cast ballots on this question, including independents and those enrolled in the Green and Libertarian parties.

Local elections

In Kittery, voters will be deciding whether to validate the work of a school budget “town meeting” and approve the $17.2 million spending plan for fiscal year 2019.

On the town side, voters will be asked whether or not they want to replace the Government Street Wharf at a cost of up to $450,000. The money would come from the town’s unassigned funds.

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