Go Forth and Vote

Posted Nov. 01, 2010, at 7:39 p.m.

Did the weekend snow get you down? 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 are registered, you just need to show up at your local polling place. Don’t know where it is? Visit http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/gmaps/map.pl?show=poll&submit=Go 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.

At the top of the ballot is your chance to choose the state’s next governor. Statewide referendum questions ask about a casino in Oxford County, borrowing money to create a dental school and borrowing money to fund the Land for Maine’s Future program.

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You should also help choose Maine’s congressional representatives as well as who will represent you in Augusta. Local referendum questions and council races are also on many ballots.

Don’t know who the five candidates — three independents, a Republican and a Democrat — for governor are? Don’t know what one of the referendum questions means or whether you want to support the bond issues? Visit the secretary of state’s website, maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming.html#citguide, for answers.

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 casino question or which council candidate to favor? It’s not too late to work up an opinion.

Participation is crucial in this election. With so many candidates running for governor, the race 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; the trend of more people voting absentee continues. More than 120,000 ballots have already been cast, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

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. By the way, if you make a mistake on a ballot, you can ask for another.

Voting. What would Election Day be without it?

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