Don’t Forget to Vote! 2021 Edition

Just got back from a quick jaunt out to vote in my local elections today. Actually, this year’s ballot was pretty light, all things considered. There were only 5 things on there that I was voting for, and no elected positions at all. That said, I still think it’s important to vote and make your voice heard, regardless of how big or small the issues are. And if you’re wondering what’s on the ballot this year in Maine, allow me to give you a brief rundown, along with how I personally voted.

First, there’s the very contentious question of the CMP corridor. If in Maine, you’ve likely heard tons about this, much of it confusing. If you’re not in Maine . . . I’m sorry. It’s a wonderful state. Either way, it boils down to this. Central Maine Power wants to build a line connecting hydroelectric power from Quebec to the power grid in Massachusetts. It was all going swimmingly until a strong contingent came out against the movie. From there, it devolved into local politics. I’ve found the ads purposefully manipulative and confusing, trying to draw in all sorts of other issues to muddy the waters around this single one. Personally, I voted NO on this item, which means that I’m in support of the CMP corridor being built. It came down to a few basic issues for me. First, a ton of the corridor already has been built. The debate is over the remaining 53 miles of it. To me, the cows are out of the barn already, and if people wanted to have it differently, they should have debated the need for doors before the cows left. Beyond that, I’m in favor of greener energy coming to New England. There’s the big debate that not enough of it is coming to Maine, and that Maine isn’t being fairly compensated for this whole thing, but again: water under the bridge. Towns agreed to it before they decided they weren’t getting enough money, and then things got ugly. I’m sure there are many of you who disagree with me on this. I don’t feel strongly enough to fight you, since all I really care is that the issue is over and done with.

Second, there’s another bond issue to let the state raise $100 million for transportation upgrades, which would then let the state leverage an additional $250+ million in grants and federal aid. I voted YES, because that seems like a good deal to me, and I imagine this one will pass, since almost all the bond issues pass in Maine, year after year.

Third, the last state-level item is around amending the Maine constitution to make it a right to grow and raise your own food. This seems like a pretty basic level thing, and I admittedly didn’t know that much about it going into it. I voted YES, because . . . why would I begrudge people growing their own food? It looks like (reading up about it now) there are arguments against because the wording is too vague, and because Big Agriculture doesn’t like it. Having read about it, I still would vote YES. If the law turns out problematic, we can define it more. But whatever.

Fourth, there’s the county question of whether or not the county treasurer should be appointed by commissioners or elected, as the position currently stands. This stems back to a fight over the pandemic, where the current elected treasurer wanted to work remotely due to COVID risks, and the commissioners didn’t want to allow that. Things get muddy from there, with the two sides justifying what they wanted to do and why, but to me, it all comes down to this position always having been elected before, and it smells strongly of local politics and grudges to suddenly want to change it now. I voted NO, so that the position remains elected. This is related to the next question:

Fifth (and last), is the question of whether we should start having 5 county commissioners (which is what the constitutionally mandated redistricting in 2019 supported (with bipartisan support) or if we should keep the status quo of 3 commissioners, which our current 3 commissioners have been trying to do. (They declined to make the switch in 2019, so legislators passed a law that required them to bring this issue to the voters now.) The idea is centered around there being better representation for all people across the county, and the fact that our commissioners are suddenly playing around with the state laws and how they want to enforce them once again smells strongly of local politics and I just don’t want to get into it. I voted YES, because something seems awfully fishy with what our current set of commissioners seem to be up to, and I’d rather more representation instead of less. (Didn’t we kind of fight the whole American Revolution about this? You’d think it would have been decided by now . . . )

In any case, that’s how I came down on things. If you happen to agree with me, great! Go vote! If you disagree with me? Fine! Go vote! Elections matter, regardless of the size. Often, smaller elections matter much more than bigger elections, in terms of what your life is going to look like right around where you live.


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