The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.
Tuesday is primary election day in Maine. There are many new and different things about this election.
For one, it was moved from its traditional date in June. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Janet Mills in April delayed the election to July 14 to reduce the risk of voters and poll workers catching coronavirus and to give election officials more time to prepare.
Another change in the governor’s April order was to allow Mainers to vote by absentee ballot through Election Day. A record number of registered voters — nearly 200,000 — have requested absentee ballots for this election. About two-thirds of these ballots had been returned by Friday. If you haven’t already, be sure to drop off your ballot by Tuesday, before 8 p.m., so it will be counted.
If you haven’t already voted, polling places will be open. But many polling places, including in Augusta and Lewiston, have been moved. To find your polling place, visit maine.gov, type in your home address, and you’ll find the location and hours.
Please wear a face covering and be sure to respect social distancing guidelines to protect your health and that of others at the polling place.
Maine is one of 21 states that allows you to register on Election Day. So, if you are not registered, you can still do so. 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.
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.
“It’s important to remember that election officials are your trusted source for unbiased, accurate information about elections,” Secretary of State Matt Dunlap reiterated in a BDN column earlier this year.
Tuesday’s big draw is expected to be the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Three candidates are running to take on Sen. Susan Collins in November. Republicans in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District will choose their candidate to run against Rep. Jared Golden in November. These elections will use ranked-choice voting.
All registered voters can and should vote on the two statewide bond questions. Question 1, a statewide bond to raise $15 million (which will be matched by as much as $30 million from federal, local and private sector sources) to expand the reach of high-speed internet.
Question 2 seeks a $105 million bond, matched by $275 from federal and other sources, for road, bridge and other transportation infrastructure repairs and improvements.
Voters in Penobscot County are asked about a $6 million bond for upgrades to communications systems for emergency dispatch services, Question 3.
Voters in many communities will also see legislative primaries and school budgets on their ballots.
If you still need more information about who the candidates are or whether you support or oppose the two statewide bond questions, visit the secretary of state’s website or check out the BDN’s voter guide.
Many of your friends and neighbors have likely already had their say. So, make sure your voice is heard, too, by turning in your absentee ballot or heading to the polls on Tuesday.