Mainers have long prided themselves in their ability to think independently. However, the failure of LD 211, or “An Act To Open Maine’s Primaries and Permit Unenrolled Voters To Cast Ballots in Primary Elections” is an example of the people’s independence being undermined by their representatives in Augusta.

Thirty-five percent of Maine voters are not registered as Democrats or Republicans, but rather as independents. However, when it comes time to vote on Election Day, independents often have only two realistic choices, both of whom they had no role in selecting. A little more than a generation ago, unenrolled voters consisted of a smaller percentage of the electorate in Maine than either Democrats or Republicans. Now the script has been flipped, with unenrolled voters outnumbering both Democrats and Republicans by significant margins.

Unfortunately, Maine lawmakers have failed to give independent voters a voice in the democratic process. Closed primaries continue to leave thousands of Mainers out of a vital aspect of democracy and undermine the electoral process.

As a lifelong Democrat, I remain hopeful that Maine lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will set aside their loyalties to their party and support the plurality of Mainers who deserve to have their voices heard, as well as reconsider their position and vote.

Ryan Lizanecz, Lewiston

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