Today is election day. Oh sure, there's a day in November when most voters will cast their ballots, but Mainers can request an absentee ballot and vote in the comfort of their own home right now, and an increasing number are choosing to do so.
First, the news. Last Tuesday, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians issued a strongly-worded statement in support of the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. Among the highlights:
"As physicians who care for children and their families, we are committed to supporting what is best for children.
Elizabeth "Libby" Mitchell has a history of firsts. She was the first woman in Maine to serve as House Majority Leader, the first female Speaker of the House, and when she was elected Senate President last year she became the first woman in the country to have served as head of both chambers of a state's legislature. She now seeks, along with fellow democrats Donna Dion, Rosa Scarcelli and Dawn Hill and Green Independent Lynne Williams, to be the first woman to become governor of Maine.
"How is it," wonders Robert Reich, the economist and former Labor Secretary, "that a decision next week by a single senator from Maine will almost certainly determine whether America's future healthcare system is still in the hands of private for-profit insurance companies and Big Pharma or enables more Americans to get better healthcare at lower cost?"
60,473 petition signatures now sit in cardboard boxes in the offices of Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Dunlap's staff will soon be checking each one to determine if enough are valid to put the new Democrat-backed tax reform law on hold and place a veto referendum of the legislation on the June 2010 primary ballot.
The legislation, which seeks to lower Maine's income tax and broaden the sales tax, has become a controversial issue and a rallying point for all three of Maine's recognized political parties.
The November ballot will be chock-full of referendums, with Mainers asked to vote on everything from school consolidation to gay marriage to the excise tax. Perhaps that, along with the lack of a strong campaign on either side, is why little attention has been paid so far to the citizen initiative that will be listed as question five on the ballot, an attempt to amend Maine's medical marijuana laws to allow easier and more regulated access to the drug.
There's been plenty of talk in Maine's media about where the money is coming from for each side of the equal marriage campaign, but less mention so far of a more important consideration; where their votes are coming from.
According to Edgar Allen Beem, a columnist for the Forecaster, Democratic candidate Rosa Scarcelli will be Maine's next governor. Well, I'm glad to have that wrapped up. Now we can move on to the 2014 election.
Wild speculation aside, Scarcelli does seem to be a candidate worth taking a look at. She may not have any electoral experience but she has a strong business background and what seems like a solid campaign.
In talking to people here in South Portland about the hot local political topic of the moment, the proposal to ban dogs on Willard beach, I've noticed something interesting. If someone is undecided on the issue, mentioning that dogs have always been allowed on the beach usually makes up their mind against the ban.
Fifteen months before the 2010 gubernatorial election and ten months before the primary, the race for Maine's governor already has more than a dozen candidates, with several more heavy-hitters on the horizon.