2018-05-31 / Editorial

There are a few things to know about June 12 vote

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

With the Primary elections, school budget validation referendums and ranked choice voting referendum coming up on Tuesday, June 12, I thought it would be a good time to update readers on some new election information.

The first thing to know is that anyone can vote on June 12, regardless of party enrollment. You’ll still need to be in a party to vote in a primary, but there are questions on our ballots in Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach that reach beyond the Democratic and Republican party primaries. Unenrolled, Green Independent and Libertarian voters should also come out and vote. For example, in Biddeford, the school budget validation referendum vote will be on the ballot. Every person in the state will have an opportunity to vote on Question 1, which is the people’s veto effort to save ranked choice voting from the Legislature’s attempts to delay it.

Not registered to vote yet? Well, in Maine, it’s never too late to register to vote – you can register right at the polling place. To do so, you will need to show identification and proof of residency (not a PO Box), especially if you previously registered by mail. To establish residency, bring your driver’s license or a paycheck, utility bill or government document that includes your name and street address.

There has recently been a national discussion about voting security. In Maine, voting security is considered very good. One of the reasons is that we use paper ballots and our vote tabulator machines are not connected to the internet. A physical paper record of each vote exists.

Speaking of ballots, it is not too late to request an absentee ballot. Unlike many other states, you do not need a reason to vote absentee. Just call your municipal clerk to request one. In Biddeford, the number is 284-9307; in Saco, 284-4831; and in Old Orchard Beach, 934-4042. Please be considerate of our hardworking city/town clerks – the last day to request an absentee ballot is coming up on Thursday, June 7, so call soon.

Now on to some of the more recent changes in ballot procedures. Ranked choice voting, which was approved by voters in November 2016, will be used in the party primaries for governor. This is the first time any state has used it for a statewide election, so Maine is leading the way. It is fairly straightforward. You can pick your first, second and third choice and so on for the nominee for your party for governor (there are four choices for Republicans and seven choices for Democrats). You can fill out the ballot completely, or not. You don’t need to rank all the candidates if you don’t want to.

There are some advantages to this approach. You can probably think of an election in which you did not vote for your favorite candidate, but instead voted defensively, so that your least favorite candidate would not win. With ranked choice, you do not need to think that way; just rank the candidates in your order of preference. There is no such thing as a long-shot spoiler. Visit maine.gov/sos for a very good illustrated demonstration of how it works and a sample ballot.

Question 1 on the ballot is a decision about whether to continue using ranked choice voting in the future. Unfortunately, the question is confusing. It reads: Do you want to reject the parts of a new law that would delay the use of ranked-choice voting in the election of candidates for any state or federal office until 2022, and then retain the method only if the constitution is amended by December 1, 2021, to allow ranked-choice voting for candidates in state elections?

This wording is difficult to decipher, but to sum up, if you like ranked choice voting, vote Yes on 1. That will overturn the Legislature’s decision to delay it.

Be sure to request your absentee ballot now, or mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 12 and get out and vote. Your voice is important. As an Independent without a party primary, I am not on the ballot until November, but I’ll still be there supporting ranked choice voting and the school budget. I hope to see you.

Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford is an Independent State Representative and candidate for US Congress serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Outside the legislature, he hosts a podcast for Maine entrepreneurs called ‘The Grow Maine Show’ – available on Apple Podcasts – and is chair of the Biddeford Solid Waste & Recycling Commission. Sign up for legislative updates at or at facebook.com/ repgrohman.

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