Go Forth and Vote

Posted June 07, 2010, at 3:03 p.m.

Did the weekend rain get you down? Lost the old pep? Can’t get motivated? Try voting! There’s no better way to reinvigorate the democratic republic in you than to cast a vote for a worthy candidate or against one that didn’t impress. Want another reason? Your neighbor, or maybe even your spouse, may have voted already, and you don’t want to be left out.

Voting is simple but important. If you’re registered, you need just to show up at your local polling place. Don’t know where it is? Go to http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/lookup_polling_place.php and type in your home address, and you’ll find out. It couldn’t hurt to bring identification, though you shouldn’t need it. Not registered? Bring identification and head for town hall — you may be able to vote there as well. Even if there is a problem with your registration, you still can vote under Maine’s challenged ballot law, so there’s no reason to leave a polling place without having your say.

If you are a registered Republican or Democrat, you can vote to choose your party’s candidate to run for governor in November. If you’re not enrolled in a party, you can do so today and vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. If you’re not a member of a party, you can vote on the referendum to repeal tax reform and the four bond questions. You can also vote in local elections.

Don’t know who the 11 candidates — seven Republicans and four Democrats — for governor are? Don’t know what the one referendum means or whether you want to support the bond issues? Go to the Secretary of State’s website for answers. www.maine.gov/sos/

Certainly, there’s enough at stake to lift you from the torpor of endless campaign commercials and lengthy arguments over issues. The heated and crowded campaign for governor couldn’t have escaped your notice. Don’t simply burden your friends with your opinion — make it official at your polling place. Haven’t decided which way to go on the tax reform referendum or which council candidate to favor? It’s not too late to work up an opinion.

Participation is crucial in this primary election. secretary of state Matt Dunlap predicts fewer than 20 percent of registered voters will go to the polls. With so many candidates running for governor, especially on the Republican side, the races could be decided by a small number of votes. Make sure yours is among them.

Many of your friends and neighbors likely already have had their say. Even though turnout is expected to be low, the trend of more people voting absentee continues.

It may be confusing to first-time voters, but there are only two things to remember: Votes are counted carefully in Maine, so if you cast a ballot, it will matter; and there’s no reason to leave a polling place without voting, no matter what the problem. (If, by the way, you make a mistake on a ballot, you can ask for another.)

Voting. What would Election Day be without it?

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