Election day is almost upon us. On Nov. 2, 2021 residents of Orono can vote in the referendum election taking place on campus in the University of Maine New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots will be made available via an application process for those unable to vote in-person. Students who currently reside in Old Town will need to report to the Elks Lodge, on 37 Fourth Street in Old Town.
UMaine strives to make it easier for students to vote and have their voices heard. UMaine UVote is an organization on campus that focuses on registering students to vote and providing nonpartisan voting information and resources to the student body.
“UMaine UVote is a great resource for students. This is an initiative through the Division of Student Life that partners closely with academic departments, town officials and students,” said Jennifer Desmond, the assistant director for community life at UMaine. “Not only are events held to help students register to vote and understand the ballot, it is also a great way for students to volunteer and gain experience. Students can also follow along with the social media page @um.uvote. UMaine was recognized nationally as a Voter Friendly Campus following the 2020 election for its commitment to supporting student voting.”
There are a few options available for students who have yet to register to vote. Students should remember that when they change addresses, even if it is within the same town, they need to submit a new voter registration card to the town of Orono. Students should also be advised that they can vote in the same town they attend college in even if they are from out of state. Students can register to vote through the Center for Student Involvement by filling out a voter registration card at their office in the Memorial Union. The deadline for filling out a card through this office or mailing a voter registration card yourself is Oct. 19. After that point in time, students are able to register to vote at the Orono Town Office at 59 Main Street, Orono, ME before election day. Same day voter registration is also going to be available in the field house on election day.
As far as understanding what will be on the ballot this upcoming election, there are a few places to turn to. Desmond recommended that students go to https://www.ballotready.org/ and input their address to receive simplified unbiased information on what the Orono ballot will be asking voters this year.
“The League for Women Voters and the political science department offer great resources for understanding ballot questions,” explained Desmond. On Oct. 7 at 5 p.m., they will be hosting an event with Professor Robert Glover on the 2021 referendum questions.”
There will be three main questions on the ballot for voters to take into consideration. The first question surrounds the issue of the CMP corridor. Voters will be asked if they favor banning the construction of the corridor or not. The second question asks if Mainers would be in favor of approving a $100,000,000 bond to improve infrastructure in the state. The third question asks if voters would be interested in amending Maine’s constitution to declare that people have the natural right to farm on their land and choose to consume what food they grow or want for their own nourishment.
Voters are encouraged to research these issues themselves before voting in order to make educated decisions. Since Election Day is approaching quickly it is best that students get prepared to vote soon. For more information please check out the UMaine UVote website or report to your local town office before Nov. 2.
Students who are interested in being involved in supporting the election process can also volunteer to work at the polls on election day. Interested students can contact the Orono Town Hall for more information if they would like to sign up.