Editorial: Get out and vote

After the rollercoaster ride over shark-infested waters that was last November’s election, heading to the ballot box Tuesday seems like a gentle turn on the carousel. Hancock County voters will not be electing any national, state or county leaders this go-around. There are three statewide referendum questions, with Question 1 concerning the CMP corridor the most polarizing and pricey. Tens of millions have been spent trying to sway votes. Ambivalent Mainers might be inclined to sit this one out, but there is more to consider. 

Question 2, a $100 million transportation bond, is an easy sell. (The thing most likely to go bump in the night this Halloween is our roads.) Question 3 proposes a constitutional amendment establishing “a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing.” Signs in favor have popped up like turnips in the Blue Hill area.  

Those municipalities with local races or issues may experience higher turnout than communities with just the state ballot.  

Bar Harbor has a veritable smorgasbord of local issues with eight articles on the special town meeting ballot Nov. 2, including a proposed land use ordinance amendment on short-term rentals. Tremont will weigh a campground moratorium ordinance and amendments to the town’s Site Plan Review Ordinance.  

There’s something refreshingly down-to-earth about a local election – even if a candidate or a cause is a bit out there. We think school board hopefuls are a particularly stalwart lot given the national furor over issues such as masking and how history is taught. Where once elected officials toiled in relative obscurity, getting yelled at in person and vilified online has become mainstream. We’re all for the public participation; the tone we could do without. In the words of one Facebook commenter, “We all get a vote. No need to be nasty.” 

So, take your vote and use it this Nov. 2. Learn as much as you can first. Reach out to local candidates if you have lingering questions about topics important to you. Contact municipal officials if you need help deciphering the language of local questions. For the statewide referendum, there is a handy, nonpartisan citizen’s guide available on the Secretary of State’s website. The guide breaks down each question and includes public comments for and against. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” 

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