Voting at Bates and Maine

The Harward Center encourages Bates students to register to vote.

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In less than a week, on Tuesday, November 8th, citizens around the country will be heading to their local polling places to cast their vote for the next President of the United States of America.

If you’re not registered, it is not too late to vote. Bates Students can register on election day at the polling place, which is the Lewiston Armory. The Lewiston Armory is down the street from the new dorms right off campus at 65 Central Avenue. If you live on campus all you need to do is bring your social security number and your Bates ID. If you live off campus you still need to bring your social security number and your Bates ID, but you must also bring a piece of mail you have received that has your Lewiston street address, such as a bill. If you are already registered in Maine, bring your social security number and a photo ID to insure that there will be no confusion about your registration. As Maine State Representative Peggy Rotundo said, “Every Bates student who is not voting somewhere else has the absolute right to vote!” Despite this right, in 2012 only 42% of Bates students voted, compared to the nationwide 57.5% voter turnout rating.

Maine is one of only two states (Nebraska is the other) that has the potential to split its electoral votes. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, two of Maine’s electoral votes are awarded by Congressional District and the final two are distributed by the state’s “at-large” vote. The Lewiston/Auburn area is a part of Maine’s second Congressional District where there are regularly very thin margins of victory. In state and local elections there are often recounts resulting in the winner receiving less than 100 votes more than their opponent.

Maine’s system of splitting the electoral vote increases the weight of each individual vote, especially in such a highly contested district. Furthermore, within this system there is the potential for three different candidates to receive electoral votes. Therefore, regardless of whether you are voting for the Democratic or Republican nominee or a third party candidate, your voice will be heard.

In this election there is more at stake than just who the next President will be. If you are registered to vote in Maine you will also have the option to vote for Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin or Democratic challenger Emily Cain in their race to represent the Maine’s second Congressional District. The other elections included on the ballot are for Register of Probate, County Commissioner, State Senator, and Legislative Representative.

Finally, there are six referendum questions registered voters in Maine get to weigh in on. The first is over the legalization of Marijuana; the second is about taxing individual income of over $200,000 a year to create a state fund for K-12 education; the third is about closing the gun-show loophole; the fourth is about raising the minimum wage; the fifth is about rank choice voting; and the sixth is about improving Maine infrastructure.

There are a wide variety of issues at stake in the election coming up on Tuesday, November 8th. Maine has made it very easy for Bates students to make their voices heard in this election. If you are not registered, it is not too late! If you have any questions, reach out to the Brenna Callahan ‘15 (bcallaha@bates.edu).

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