Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Get out and vote!

Voting is a fundamental right in the U.S. Yet, far fewer people exercise this right than they should. Take for instance, today’s primaries. There are primary races being contested for the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts, as well a numerous local elections. There is also a key bond issue question that could provide needed funding to repair and upgrade the state's crumbling roads, as well as its aging bridges.

According to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, turnout is expected to be heavy, with 30 to 35 percent of registered voters going out to vote. This is 50 percent higher than the norm for primary elections. That means that normally, 8 out of 10 Mainers don’t even bother to vote in these important elections. They say that people get the government they deserve. Maybe some of our problems in Augusta, and Washington stem from the overwhelming apathy that plagues much of the country.

Here are some basic Voting 101 factoids for you, to help you get out and vote:

  • RESIDENTS CAN register to vote on today, the day of the primary, and independent voters can join a political party today as well.
  • IN MOST cases, people can sign up at their local polling place today, but state officials recommend checking with local election officials beforehand, to find out if that's where they should go.
  • MAINE DOES NOT have open primaries, in which members of one party can vote in another party's primary. Mainers can only vote in their own party's primary today, although all voters, including independents, can vote on the bond issue that will be on the ballot because that is not a partisan election.
  • UNFORTUNATELY, if you want to switch parties, you’re too late, as the deadline has passed.

Let’s hope Maine’s turnout, which traditionally is higher than other states, is even higher than expected.

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