December 18, 2017
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Don’t just burden your friends with your opinion. Make it official at your polling place.

Nick Sambides | BDN
Nick Sambides | BDN

There’s no better way to reinvigorate the democratic republic in you than to cast a vote for a worthy candidate or against one who 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 maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/voter_lookup.php, type in your home address, and you’ll find out. It wouldn’t hurt to bring identification, though you shouldn’t need it.

Not registered? Bring identification — a photo ID works but so does a piece of mail that proves you live where you say you live — and head to the polls. Maine is one of 15 states that allow you to register on Election Day.

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. By the way, if you make a mistake on a ballot, you can take it to a volunteer at the polling place and ask for another.

This is an off-year election, so there are not races for governor, Legislature or president, but that’s no reason to skip casting a ballot. In many locales, there are elections for town councils and school boards. Some communities are considering mergers and important zoning questions. These deserve your consideration.

There are four statewide ballot questions that shouldn’t have escaped your attention. Do you want to allow a third casino in Maine, in York County? Expand Medicaid? How about borrowing $105 million to improve and maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure, especially roads and bridges? Should Maine’s public employee pension system pay back its investment losses over 20 years, instead of the current 10?

Don’t know whether you want to support the referendums or the bond? Visit the s ecretary of state’s website or check out the BDN’s election primer.

Certainly, there’s enough at stake to lift you from the torpor induced by campaign commercials and lengthy arguments over issues. The contentious debate over health care couldn’t have escaped your notice. Neither should the ethical problems facing the casino bid. 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 bond issue or which city council candidate to favor? It’s not too late to work up an opinion.

Many of your friends and neighbors likely already have had their say. The trend of more people voting absentee continues.

It may be confusing to first-time voters, but there are only two things to remember. First, votes are counted carefully in Maine, so if you cast a ballot, it will matter. Second, voter fraud is virtually nonexistent, so the integrity of this election is secure.

Now, do your part and go vote.

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