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Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he will not certify the results of Tuesday's election because of his opposition to ranked-choice voting.  But Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says the governor's threat is hollow, as certification isn't required in party primary nomination contests.

Originally published 3:13 p.m. June 11, 2018.

Lawmakers are making slow progress on addressing numerous bills and issues left unresolved from their second regular legislative session, which ended in early May. On Monday, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee passed a $37 million spending package that could set the stage for resolving outstanding issues in a special session that could happen as early as next week.

AUGSUTA, Maine - The Maine Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee is set to meet again publicly to try to hash out a spending deal.
 
Lawmakers on the committee are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon.  The committee could discuss whether to move forward on a package of bills with broad support.
 
Lawmakers are facing looming deadlines to prevent pay cuts for direct care workers and fund county jails.
They have until late August to decide the fate of dozens of bonds, including a $100 million transportation bond.
 

Governor Paul LePage is endorsing Eric Brakey, a state senator who is hoping to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King.

Republican Brakey wants to run this fall against King, an independent.

LePage says he had toyed with the idea of running for U.S. Senate himself. But he declared subsequent rumors "fake news."

The governor said he will help Brakey in any way he can. LePage said Brakey fights for Maine people and freedom.

The governor said Brakey will run against an incumbent senator "who stands with the elites and insiders in Washington."

Gov. Paul LePage said he's “dismayed” with the wording of a ballot question to preserve a new ranked voting method.

Friday LePage called Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's wording “elitist.”

Dunlap said he aimed to make things clear for voters and has additional educational resources for voters online.

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To explain how citizens will experience Ranked Choice Voting next Tuesday Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap visited Maine Calling.

To clarify, as Dunlap noted, you can enroll with one of the two parties on election day if you are currently unenrolled, or have not registered to vote. But to change parties, you must do so 15 days before election day.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is recusing herself from any pending legal actions involving Medicaid expansion, citing her candidacy for governor and stated support for Medicaid expansion

“If there is a role for this office to play, I will defer to their judgement in that regard," Mills says. "It’s important to recognize that I am a candidate for Governor in Tuesday’s primary election and I have taken a strong position on Medicaid expansion.”

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Polling in primary elections has always been difficult, due to typically-low voter turnout. But experts say it is even more arduous when voters are surveyed about their preferences under the new ranked-choice voting law.

Maine Public

The ranked-choice voting system is forcing candidates to think about how they are campaigning, and it will also make voters think twice about their choice. But perhaps no group has more to think about than municipal clerks, the people who will conduct next week's vote.

Whether you touch a screen, fill in an oval or put an X in a box, the way you vote changes next week. And that means changes for people like Sandra Fournier. "It's very stressful,” she says.

Maine Public staff/file

The LePage administration is appealing a judge's order issued Monday that requires the state to begin implementing the expansion of Medicaid approved by Maine voters in 2017.

In an email sent to Maine Public Thursday night, Julie Rabinowitz, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, says Commissioner Ricker Hamilton appealed Monday's decision.

"The Commissioner has appealed and asked the Law Court to expedite briefing on this important constitutional question," Rabinowitz says, in a brief statement.  "An appropriation is essential to implementing any major public program, and Medicaid expansion is no different."

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved the Transportation budget that was recommended by the subcommittee chaired by Sen. Susan Collins. The bill provides increased funding for several key programs, including $1 billion for BUILD grants – a new acronym for TIGER grants.

“This is the transportation program that Maine has been very successful in competing for funds under,” says Collins.

Lucas St. Clair helped win national monument designation for the land now known as Katahdin Woods and Waters, and he’d like to win the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District.

Garrett Mason, Maine Senate majority leader, is among four Republicans who would like to succeed Gov. Paul LePage.

Mason was first elected to the Maine Senate in 2010. He is currently serving his fourth term and is now the Senate majority leader. Mason has worked for the Portland Sea Dogs, the city’s AA baseball team, and for the Lewiston MAINEiacs hockey team as a business administrator. He is currently a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Portland.

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Next week, Maine voters will decide whether to continue to use ranked-choice voting in future elections. In anticipation of this decision, two very different campaigns are underway, each attempting to shape public opinion in advance of the election.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting are behind hundreds of thousands of dollars of broadcast advertisements urging Mainers to keep the system they will use for the first time next week, including on featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Thursday, June 7 at 2:00 pm

Maine Public Radio is presenting a series of special Your Vote 2018 primary candidate profiles in our 2 o’clock hour. On June 12, Maine voters will choose Democratic and Republican nominees for governor, and the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

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