With Election Day coming up on Nov. 6, it’s important to know where elections are being held and what will be on the ballot.
Voting this year will be held at the University of Maine New Balance Field House for all Orono residents. Maine allows for same day registration, meaning that it’s not too late to register to vote. In order to register the day of, residents must bring an I.D. and proof of residency, such as a piece of mail with their address on it.
For UMaine students, a MaineCard and copy of their Orono address printed from MaineStreet will also be accepted. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents of Old Town will vote at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 5 Gilman Falls Ave.
In previous elections, some students have run into issues with registering the day of voting. In order to resolve any issues that voters may run into, election clerks will be at every polling location in Orono and Old Town.
As for the ballot, this upcoming election boasts a wide variety of issues and introduces a new form of voting.
Mainers will vote on one tax increase and four different bond issues this election. These questions concern funding universal home care through a 3.8 percent payroll tax, and bonds funding wastewater, transportation, state universities and community colleges. Each bond issue poses the question of whether or not voters support a certain amount of money being allocated to each of these different bond issues.
This ballot presents two contentious questions, Question 1 and Question 4.
Question 1 would allocate money to create the Universal Home Car Program. This would provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income. The funds would come from a 3.8 percent tax on families and individuals who made more than $128,400 in 2018.
Proponents of this bond argue that the plan is key for Maine’s aging population, while those against it say that it’s a bad idea to raise taxes to fund the program and that these services shouldn’t be provided to those who can afford to pay for home care as is.
Question 4 asks if voters favor a bond of $49 million for Maine’s public universities. This would be matched by $49 million in private and public funds. The goal of the bond is to expand workforce development and improve student attraction and retainment, with the hope of strengthening Maine’s economy.
This bond question would mean that the State of Maine would borrow $49 million and later raise another $49 million in order to modernize schools in the University of Maine System. More than half of this bond would go to the University of Southern Maine. The UMaine campus would receive around $10 million.
Those who support the bond believe that this development is key to keeping students in Maine and view it as an investment in the future of Maine’s workforce while those against it view it as Maine adding another $49 million to the states debt, among other issues.
Ranked choice voting will be used for the first time this election cycle.
Voters will be able to rank their candidates for the U.S. Senate race as well as the two congressional races. This means that voters will be able to rank the following candidates: Eric Brakey (R), Angus King (I) and Zak Ringelstein (D) for U.S. Senate; and in Orono, Jared Golden (D), Tiffany Bond(I), William Hoar (I) and Bruce Poliquin (R) for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maine’s 2nd District
Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank their top choices, so if a voter’s top contender doesn’t reach a majority (more than 50 percent of the vote), the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated from the running. The votes cast for that candidate will then be given to the contender that the voter ranked as their second choice.
Maine will also vote on it’s next governor this November. The ballot includes two Independents: Alan Caron and Terry Hayes, as well as Democrat Janet Mills and Republican Shawn Moody. The gubernatorial race will not be ranked choice, meaning that voters will have to select one candidate.
Orono residents will also be voting on state senators, representatives to the state legislature and district attorney, among other positions.
For all the candidates, gubernatorial and otherwise, the League of Women’s Voters has outlined their experience and goals. All of this information, as well as more information about the bond questions, is available in a variety of different languages, on their website: lwvme.org/guide.html.