Maine voters head to the polls on Tuesday. And while there are no major statewide candidate battles — that’s next year — there are important ballot decisions to be made that will dramatically affect the state’s economic and political future.
After weighing all sides, listening to many debates and measuring much evidence from dozens and dozens of people — elected officials, business and civic leaders and citizens — we believe Tuesday’s choices can be easily made.
Vote “yes” on all four ballot questions.
“Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?”
A “yes” vote returns Maine’s Election Day process to one that has been heralded for increasing voter turnout and making democracy accessible to all.
By preserving same-day voter registration, Mainers can rest assured they have a system that has worked almost flawlessly for nearly 40 years.
The politically motivated and ill-crafted new law that a “yes” vote will block would merely throw another barrier in front of voters and serve only to limit access to the polls to certain segments of legal voters. That law, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, is wrong and must be rejected by this people’s veto.
Critics of the system Maine has used successfully for years have tried many ways to distort the benefits of that system and deceive the public; the new law they supported infringes on a U.S. citizen’s fundamental right to access the polls and cast a ballot. In their deceptive attempts to sustain this bigotry, they have only given voters more reason to distrust their motives and the motive behind any measure that keeps people from accessing their government at the most basic level — voting.
Support the people’s veto: Vote “yes” on Question 1.
“Do you want to allow a slot machine facility at a harness racing track in Biddeford and at a harness racing track in Washington County?”
This is about jobs for Maine and Maine people. It helps preserve our harness-racing industry while bringing a major new attraction to the city of Biddeford and increased tax revenues for both local and statewide benefit.
It would also allow a tribe of the state’s American Indians, the Penobscot Nation, to access an economic development tool that has long been denied them in the form of a casino resort. We support the jobs these two projects would preserve and create and the economic stability it would help bring to the Penobscot Nation.
We urge a “yes” vote on Question 2.
“Do you want to allow a casino with table games and slot machines in Lewiston?”
Again long overdue, this measure would help bring a major new development to Lewiston-Auburn’s downtown. It would finally see a viable project and a major attraction for the city to replace what has essentially been negative space in the Bates Mill No. 5 building. The project would provide a major face-lift to the city and add to the many positive developments that have occurred in the downtown in recent years. Massive portions of the revenue from this casino project would go to benefit many groups and agencies, and its creation would likely spawn a new round of development and growth for L-A.
Vote “yes” on Question 3.
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the years of redistricting the Maine Legislature, congressional districts and county commissioner districts after 2013 from 2023 and every 10th year thereafter to 2021 and every 10th year thereafter?”
This hard-to-understand question is largely a housekeeping measure that aligns the redistricting of legislative, county commission and congressional districts with the release of U.S. Census data. The change puts Maine back on schedule to redistrict every 10 years shortly after the latest federal population information is released.
A ”yes” vote on Question 4 is warranted.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.