It’s going to be the *fifth* time I’ve headed to the polls this year, believe it or not. But even though there are no candidates to vote for this year on election day, there are still four referendum questions that will have an impact on the future of our state. It’s important to make your voice heard, and it’s so easy to vote. There’s really no excuse to stay home.
What are we voting on this year?
- Question 1: An Act To Allow Slot Machines or a Casino in York County: Do you want to allow a certain company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to state and local approval, with part of the profits going to the specific programs described in the initiative?
- Question 2: An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care: Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?
- Question 3: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities and Upgrade Municipal Culverts: Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities or equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?
- Question 4: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to reduce volatility in state pension funding requirements caused by the financial markets by increasing the length of time over which experience losses are amortized from 10 years to 20 years, in line with pension industry standards?
Perhaps the more important question is “How should I vote this year?” And I’m here to let you know how I think you should vote, or at least how I will vote today.
When it comes to the issue of gambling and casinos, I’m morally opposed to them. I’ve heard all the arguments in their favor. They’ll fund education! Provide jobs! But to me, gambling is a thing that destroys many lives. It’s fundamentally dangerous and addictive, and if we need to resort to that to fund our schools, then we’re failing as a society. Maine already had two casinos. I don’t believe it needs any more. (I’d love it if the two we have weren’t here.) So I’m voting a big fat NO on this one.
For the healthcare question, I think it’s reprehensible that our governor has consistently resisted expanding Medicaid in our state. Healthcare is extremely expensive, and we’re talking about helping families that make less than $23,000 per year, which I’d like to think we could agree is a family that’s in real need of help. I’m voting YES on this one.
For the road issue, interest rates are low, and investing in our infrastructure in Maine is a sound decision. Plus, we’re getting matching funding for our dollars, which makes this even more attractive. I like roads. I like roads that aren’t terrible. I’m voting YES on this one too.
And finally, the last question is a no brainer in my book. the amendment has already passed. This is to help our retirement system be more resilient in times of crisis. We should vote to approve this as well. YES.
So for those of you playing along at home, I think you should go to the polls and vote NO YES YES YES.
That said, I realize we all have different opinions, and I respect people who disagree with me. Regardless of how you feel about these issues, go vote today. Make your voice heard. If you don’t vote, I don’t think you get to complain about how the country or the state is being lead. It’s that simple.