August 18, 2018
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Don’t just burden your friends with your opinion. Make it official at your polling place.

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
In this 2012 file photo, voters cast their votes through absentee ballots at the town hall in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Ranked-choice voting will be put to its biggest test when Maine uses the system in a statewide primary election on June 12. The system works like this: Voters rank candidates from first to last on their ballot, and the election is over if one candidate wins a majority. If not, candidates are eliminated one by one and their remaining votes reallocated in what amounts to a mathematical game of survival.

There’s no better way to reinvigorate the democratic spirit 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 on Tuesday. 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 17 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. 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 especially important as Mainers statewide use ranked-choice voting for the first time.

If you are a Republican or Democrat, the party primaries for governor surely have not escaped your notice. Both primaries offer lots of choices — four Republicans and seven Democrats are vying to represent their parties in the November election.

Democrats are also determining who will challenge Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in November. There are three choices in this race.

All of these races will use ranked-choice voting. You can pick your first choice and rank all the other candidates as well. If you’d prefer, you can vote for just one person. It is up to you.

All voters, including those not enrolled in a party, can cast a ballot for or against ranked-choice voting. After voters approved the new voting method in 2016, the Legislature sought to change the law because ranked-choice voting is constitutional for some, but not all, of the state’s elections. A bill was ultimately passed to delay ranked-choice voting while lawmakers sought to bring it fully into compliance with the state constitution or to end it by 2021.

Advocates gathered enough signatures to initiate a people’s veto vote on Tuesday, which is Question 1. If you want to keep ranked-choice voting, vote yes. If you do not want to keep it, vote no.

In many communities, voters will also cast ballots for district attorneys, probate judges and other offices.

Don’t know who the candidates are or whether you support Question 1? Visit the secretary 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. Don’t simply burden your friends with your opinion — make it official at your polling place.

Many of your friends and neighbors likely already have had their say as the trend of more people voting absentee continues. Make sure your voice is heard, too, by heading to the polls on Tuesday.

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