Last week, Maine residents voted on three statewide referendum questions and on many local and state offices.
Throughout October, Mainers dealt with an onslaught of political advertisements about Question 1, a referendum on the building of high-impact electric wires in the upper Kennebec region. More than 59% of voters supported the measure, thereby banning the controversial CMP corridor, which readers can learn more about in The Colby Echo’s Oct. 28 issue. Only Aroostook County voted against the measure.
While Question 1 stole the spotlight this election cycle, garnering by far the most attention from activists and media outlets, Mainers also voted on two other important questions.
Question 2 proposed the issuance of a $100,000,000 bond. By issuing this bond, Maine would secure an estimated $253,000,000 in additional federal funding. The state would use this money to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railroads, ports, and airports. Question 2 enjoyed the most support of the three measures, earning 72% of the vote.
Question 3 introduced an amendment to the Maine Constitution. It asked Mainers if the constitution should guarantee everyone “a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being.” This question passed with just over 60% of the vote.
Results in Waterville mirrored those throughout the state. The majority of voters supported all three questions, none of which received less than 60% of the vote.
Waterville residents also voted on some local offices. Residents of Wards 1 and 7 chose their representatives for the city council. Councilors serve three- years terms.
Michael J. Morris, who ran unopposed, retained his position as the Ward 1 City Councilor. Thomas A. McCormick defeated incumbent Erik Thomas, the current Council Chairman, in the race for Ward 7 City Councilor.
Both Wards 1 and 7 also elected members to the Waterville Board of Education. Like city councillors, members of the Board of Education serve for three years. Ward 1 voters reelected the unopposed Patricia Helm. In Ward 7, residents also stuck with their incumbent, choosing Pamela J. Trinward over Ronald A. Merrill.
Every Waterville resident could vote on three municipal questions, all of which dealt with changes to the city’s charter. The first question asked voters to approve an amendment that would, in the event of a mayor resigning or passing away, require the City Council to wait no more than 30 days before setting the date of a special election. If the vacancy starts with fewer than three months until the next election, then the special mayoral election will be conducted on that date.
The second question proposed a charter amendment that deals with nominating mayoral candidates. This amendment would require each political party to nominate its candidate during a citywide caucus. Candidates could also run if they collected enough petition signatures.
The final question pertained to the registering of political candidates. This change would require candidates to file their nominations with the city clerk’s office by 4:30 p.m. on the 60th day before the election. For special elections, the deadline is extended until the 40th day before the election. All three questions passed with more than 80% of voters supporting them.
In a special election, residents of western Augusta voted for candidates to fill the vacant seat for the state House of Representatives District 86. Raegan LaRochelle, a current at-large city councilor in Augusta, ran as the Democratic nominee, while James Orr, who serves as president of Veteran Mentors of Maine, ran on the Republican ticket. LaRochelle won with about 56% of the vote. She will serve until 2022, when she will need to rerun.
~ Matt Rocha `23