The Libertarian Party of Maine offers our opinions of the eight ballot measures up for a vote this November.
Question 1: This question requires voter approval for electric cooperatives and state entities to borrow $1 billion.
There has been much discussion about the proposed taxpayer-funded Pine Tree Power Company. If it comes into existence and Question 1 fails, PTPC could accumulate $1 billion in debt without the taxpayers’ consent – potentially creating a massive taxpayer burden. This would apply to any other public electric district as well. It is essential to establish a limit on how much a public entity can borrow. While $1 billion is an excessively high limit, it is preferable to having no limit at all.
We recommend voting YES on Question 1.
Question 2: This question proposes prohibiting foreign spending on Maine elections.
If passed, any company with at least 5% foreign ownership would be barred from spending money on advertisements for candidates or ballot measures. Campaign signs supporting this measure claim it would “protect elections,” but in reality, it has little to do with protection. Instead, it appears to be about suppressing the free speech of those not originally from Maine. It’s important to remember that we are a border state, and any company with Canadian ownership would be prevented from expressing opinions on Maine laws and candidates that effect Maine workers. This is a restriction on free speech, a right already compromised by politicians across the spectrum. Nothing is safeguarded when speech is forbidden.
We recommend voting NO on Question 2.
Question 3: This question proposes using $13 billion in taxpayer dollars to forcibly buy out Central Maine Power and Versant.
Let’s be candid. Versant and CMP are not popular amongst their customers. Customers are so frustrated with escalating rates and poor service that some are considering the possibility of a public entity takeover. However, passing this initiative would be an extremely unwise move. You don’t need to conduct extensive research to find numerous stories of well-intentioned public buyouts resulting in worse service and higher rates. The proponents of this initiative seem to be banking on wishful thinking and turning a blind eye to the dismal examples of similar failed projects. While we agree that Maine can do it better this plan would harm everyone, except for a few bureaucrats, in Maine.
We strongly recommend voting NO on Question 3.
Question 4: This question addresses allowing motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities to access on-board diagnostic systems.
At first glance, this may seem like an obvious choice, but upon closer examination, we find that it’s not a good idea. We acknowledge that we’re not supporters of Big Auto and its influence on Congress. However, to be objective, granting access to proprietary information for mechanics who aren’t certified by those manufacturers is likely to result in subpar repair service. Furthermore, a company has the right to retain its information, share it with whomever they choose, and authorize its use by those they approve of. While this measure may feel like a victory against car manufacturers and dealers (a sentiment we understand), we must maintain consistency. Government intervention in private information is a misguided move.
We recommend voting NO on Question 4.
Question 5: This question proposes changing the state’s judicial review period.
Currently, citizens can submit petitions for legislation, and the state has 100 calendar days to review those petitions. If passed, this question would extend that review period to 100 BUSINESS days, effectively adding three weeks to the process. Let’s avoid further slowing down an already time-consuming process. This time will not be used to ensure Mainers voices are heard; the state will use it to remove petitions from consideration by Mainers. We recommend voting NO on Question 5.
Question 6: This question addresses the requirement to print constitutional and aboriginal treaty provisions alongside the rest of the Maine Constitution.
In 1876, Maine voters passed a section of the Maine Constitution that omits three other sections of Article X. However, those sections themselves are not overturned; they simply can’t be printed. These sections pertain to treaties between the state and Maine’s Native American tribes. It’s unclear how printing these sections will directly benefit our native friends, but that is beside the point. If these sections are still in effect, regardless of their content, they should be printed, without exception. It seems evident that the Mainers of 1876 were influenced by racism which explains why these deliberate constitutional omissions make no logical sense in today’s world.
We recommend voting YES on Question 6.
Question 7: This question addresses the requirement for petitioners and circulators to be Maine citizens.
Currently, the Maine Constitution states that circulators and petitioners must be from Maine. However, a U.S. District Court has already ruled this to be unconstitutional, as it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. This “law” is unlikely to prevent any sort of manipulation if petitioners don’t reside within our borders, and it carries a tone of preferentialism we don’t appreciate. In practice, your friend from New Hampshire can’t currently help you get a question on the ballot because they live a few minutes in the wrong direction. We recommend voting YES on Question 7.
Question 8: This question pertains to allowing adults under guardianship to vote.
Maine’s current law that prohibits adults under guardianship for mental health reasons from voting has been struck down by a federal court. Similar to Question 7, this measure would alter Maine’s constitution to eliminate a restriction that already isn’t permitted. Every adult citizen should have the right to vote. Our recommendation is quite clear in this matter.
We recommend voting YES on Question 8.