Get ready. Get set. Vote!



“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Election Day to be born?” With thanks (and apologies) to William Butler Yeats, oh, we’re slouching. And a rough beast it will be that leads our country after the unprecedented battering administered by both campaigns in the presidential election.

Perhaps we can all agree on this: Hallelujah! It’s almost over. We can swab out our mailboxes, germy and smelly from the tide of nasty-grams that have been delivered in the last six weeks. Don’t forget to get out the disinfectant and wipe down your telephone, too.

We will be looking to newly elected leadership at both federal and state levels to initiate the healing process, to pull us out of the mire and back to a place where we are functioning citizens, not creepy rabble-rousers. But why wait? Healing, if it is to happen, begins with us.

If you have been politically active, you should keep it up, but regardless of the stance you took during election season, how about you consider this? If you are a winner, don’t gloat. Whichever team loses, they have some truth on their side, too. As passions cool down, try to hear it.

And if you are a loser, take a moment for a deep breath, but please, oh please, do not walk away from the table. We will need all points of view present and accounted for as we try to unspool this poor excuse for public dialogue and get back at it in what we devoutly hope is a more reasonable fashion.

Supporters of successful candidates will have much to do with setting the tone for the future. Be circumspect. You don’t want to be flagged for excessive celebration, including choreographed dancing, right? That carries a penalty, the penalty in this case being a country that remains fractured and dysfunctional.

We will be a long time recovering from this election, and you can help by adopting a post-election attitude that is focused on the future, on civility and on helping those we have elected toward goals that will benefit us all.

Augusta will see a brand new legislature seated in December, with work starting for real in January. There is no change in the executive branch; Gov.r Paul LePage’s term runs until 2018. And in the spirit of celebrating the good when it happens, wasn’t it good to hear him call Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to supporting the election results “an absolute stupid move.” Amen, brother!

News bulletin: Maine elections will not be rigged. The ghost of Jean Barker, clerk extraordinaire of the town of Bar Harbor for over 30 years, would not allow it and would strike terror into the heart of anyone who tried.

Her contemporaries in our county and around the state are cut from the same cloth. Don’t mess with them. They are scrupulous, well-prepared and fiercely committed to voting by the book. You can help by being sure you are registered prior to Election Day. Yes, you can register on the very day you vote, but clerks, their staffs (if they have any) and the volunteers have more than enough to do on Election Day without us showing up to register when we could have done it weeks before.

If you haven’t voted for the last few cycles, you should check to be sure you have not been “purged” from the voter registration list in your community. With all the complaints about dead people on voting lists, you should appreciate all reasonable attempts to keep these lists current.

By the way, dead people on voting lists are not a problem. Dead people casting ballots? Problem. But dead people on voting lists are a result of the fact that those lists are not purged daily. If they are purged once a year, that means 11 months of deceased voters will still be listed.

Are you so mad or depressed or worried that you can barely see straight? Maybe this will cheer you up. You already may have voted because we make it convenient for you to vote early. If you are going to vote in person, we try to make that free of obstacles, too.

Your vote will be made public only if you choose to do so yourself. You don’t have to fear that your public support for a particular candidate means you have to go into hiding after the election. You don’t have to have one finger dyed purple to prove to the authorities that you did vote.

Even if your right to vote is challenged at the polls, you can still cast a ballot, and your status as a voter will be determined shortly afterward, as soon as there is time to do so.

If you still need information on anything from voter registration, candidates or issues on the ballot, or how, when and where to vote, the following are your best sources: the Maine Secretary of State’s Office (maine.gov/sos), the Maine League of Women Voters (lwvme.org/elections) or your town office. Get ready. Get set. Vote!

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait worked for 25 years as a registered nurse at Mount Desert Island Hospital. She has served as a Bar Harbor town councilor and as an independent state senator from Hancock County.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.