Your vote does count

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    Thankfully, election season is winding down.
    After millions of dollars have been spent and thousands of ads aired on TV in an attempt to influence your decision, it all comes down to the ballot box or voting machine.

    The Observer has done its best to highlight the major races in our coverage area. Now the rest is up to you.
    Some say that this is the most important election in decades. Others take the view that no matter who is elected to Congress or the Maine Legislature, things won’t change very much. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
    With an open seat in Maine’s 2nd Congressional district, both parties have spent tons of money citing reasons why their candidate is superior. At times, the campaign has been nasty. But it only underscores the desire of both parties to win a majority in Congress.
    That’s where the rubber hits the road. President Obama can introduce all the bills he wants. Getting them through Congress is another matter, especially if the Republicans still hold a majority in the House and pick up enough votes to win the U.S. Senate.
    The same holds true in Maine. While the gubernatorial race has been on the front burner, the Maine House and Senate races are the real deal-breakers. Whoever wins the majority of seats in each chamber will call the shots, no matter who resides in the Blaine House for the next four years.
    In addition to federal and state races, there are local issues to be decided ranging from fireworks regulations in Dover-Foxcroft to a preference on the proposed east-west highway on the Dexter ballot.
    Dexter also has six candidates running for two seats on the town council, a rare occurrence for a position that pays $200 a year.
    There are one referendum and six bond questions on the statewide ballot this year and they’re pretty cut-and-dried.
    The bear hunting question is the most hotly-contested issue and could bring out more voters than normal in a non-presidential year election. The wording is straightforward: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety or for research?”
    The bond questions all ask if voters want the state to invest in agriculture, small business creation, genetic research, biotechnology, drinking water resources and Maine’s marine economy. They add up to $42 million, which isn’t exactly pocket change. So read the questions carefully before you make a decision.
    In fact, consider all the positions of the candidates — not just the hot-button issues — before you mark your ballot.
    But the important thing is to get out and vote.
    As Abraham Lincoln reportedly once said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Mike Lange is a staff writer with the Piscataquis Observer. His opinions are his own and don’t necessarily reflect those of this newspaper.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.