The 2023 Referendum Election Day occurred on Nov. 7, and one prominent polling location was the Collins Center for the Arts (CCA) at UMaine.
“I voted in every election so far that’s been on campus. I’ve been on campus for four years and this is my first year not volunteering to work the polls… I think it’s really cool that students get to vote on campus and there’s a lot of help with voting and registration,” said Student Body President Michael Delorge.
Of the 75 individuals interviewed between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., the age demographic varies, with the majority of voters being between 18 and 28 years old. The lowest percentage ranged from ages 29 to 39. This is not to say that particular bracket votes less than the others, as some did not have time to speak on their personal experiences.
18 to 28 years old: about 25%
29 to 39 years old: about 12%
40 to 50 years old: about 18%
51 to 61 years old: about 14%
62 to 72 years old: about 15%
73+ : about 16%
65 out of the 75 interviewees willingly shared their political affiliation. 52 are registered as democrats and six as republicans. Seven people considered themselves independent of either party.
Fifteen people described their experience today at the CCA polling location as “easy.” 13 others used the word “good” or “great.” Eight used exceedingly positive language such as “excellent”, “wonderful”, “amazing” and “awesome.”
Regarding the registration/voting process itself, 15 people referred to it as “streamlined” or “efficient.” There were a handful who felt it was difficult or confusing to navigate in comparison to last year’s midterm election, which was held at the UMaine Field House.
Orono Town Clerk Shelly Crosby led volunteering efforts at the CCA and shared an important benefit of the new location.
“What a lot of people don’t know is the walking distance from the parking lot to the ballot box is half what it was at the Field House,” said Crosby.
When individuals were asked if there are any particular questions that they feel strongly about, there were mixed responses. The vast majority stated that Question 3 (regarding the Pine Tree Power Initiative) was the most important referendum on the 2023 ballot, though many referenced multiple questions.
Question 1: Seven people felt strongly about this question.
Question 2: Two people felt strongly about this question.
Question 3: 29 people felt strongly about this question.
Question 4: Six people felt strongly about this question.
Question 5: One person felt strongly about this question.
Question 6: 18 people felt strongly about this question.
Question 7: Zero people felt strongly about this question.
Question 8: 10 people felt strongly about this question.
Six people said they believe all eight referendum questions to be equal in importance and 17 others chose not to respond.
“I would say that this location has been pleasantly adequate for serving the voters. We’ve been in the planning of this for about a year and today was our opportunity to test it out. So far, it seems to be working so we are quite pleased that the relocation request was met with a suitable, accommodating building and staff,” said Crosby.