Your Vote 2016

Thank you to our Your Vote 2016 sponsors: MEMIC, Lambert Coffin and the Colby Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civil Engagement.

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PORTLAND, Maine - A rematch between Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Democrat Emily Cain has brought record spending to Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

Poliquin, who won two years ago, casts his opponent as a career politician who supports higher taxes and who's out of touch with Mainers. Cain, meanwhile, accuses Poliquin of being a multimillionaire puppet of Wall Street donors who abused tax loopholes in Maine.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The YMCA of Southern Maine is offering free child care to voters today.

President Helen Brena says it’s part of the Y’s mission to be socially responsible.

“This is our way to do that,” Brena says. “To help parents be able to have a safe place for their kids so they can go and exercise their right to vote, which is important for everybody to do.”

The Southern Maine Y is offering the free child care at its four locations until 1 p.m. today and again 4-8 p.m. Its four branches are in Freeport, New Gloucester, Portland and Biddeford.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says Maine could set a record for voter turnout this year.

SACO, Maine - Two Maine cities are going to consider placing moratoriums on recreational marijuana businesses as the state prepares to vote on whether to legalize recreational pot use.

Portland will consider a six-month temporary ban on retail marijuana establishments and social clubs on Monday. Portland is the largest city in the state and legalized marijuana locally in 2013, though there is nowhere to legally buy the substance in the city.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The ACLU of Maine is calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Gov. Paul LePage for violating the Voting Rights Act.

Zach Heiden says the governor was apparently trying to intimidate college students when he warned students who vote that the state will check to make sure they take all steps required to establish residency.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Maine’s top law enforcement and election officials say Gov. Paul LePage attempted to discourage college students from voting when he threatened to investigate whether they followed all voter and residency laws after the election.

LEWISTON, Maine — Officials at a private liberal arts college in Lewiston say orange fliers distributed at numerous dorms and at the school's dining hall are a "deliberate attempt at voter suppression."

The fliers found at Bates College over the weekend state that students must pay to change their driver's licenses to Lewiston within 30 days in order to register and vote in the city. It also states they must pay to re-register vehicles.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says that information is false. He says enrolled students living in the community can vote.

Maine House Democratic Campaign Committee

A Republican political action committee controlled by House Minority Leader Ken Fredette is under fire for distributing political ads masquerading as local newspapers.

Democrats say some of the materials falsely suggest that GOP candidates have won an important endorsement.

Gov. Paul LePage says a tax department analysis shows the state is headed for a 10 percent unemployment rate if voters approve hikes in the minimum wage and in upper-income taxes next week.

LePage has spent much of his public time the past week campaigning against all of the measures on Maine's ballot next week. In an appearance at the Portland Rotary Club he focused on Question 4, to raise the state's minimum wage, and Question 2, a 3 percent surcharge on household income over $200,000, with proceeds intended to go to education.

AUGUSTA, Maine - There are growing indications that when the voting is all over Tuesday night, Mainers will set a new record for turnout.

By Thursday evening's deadline, nearly 258,000 voters had requested absentee ballots, and more than 218,000 had filled them out.  

University of Maine Political Science Professor Mark Brewer says that signals a record-setting turnout this election.

“The number of people who have already not only requested absentee ballots at this point, but submitted them at this point, is staggering," he says. "Those are huge numbers.”

Thursday is the last day for requesting an absentee ballot in Maine. And already the number of people who have voted early this year is outpacing 2012. Included in those figures are prison inmates.

No one keeps track of exactly how many prisoners vote, but Maine and Vermont are the only two states that allow them to do so. Other states restrict voting even after sentences are completed, but some of those polices are starting to change.

If absentee balloting is any indication, Mainers are voting this year in numbers ahead of 2012, the last presidential election.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, over 188,000 Mainers had already cast their votes through absentee ballots — a little more than the total number of absentee ballots cast in 2012.

Democrats make up the largest number, a little over 42 percent of the early voters, with both Republican and unenrolled voters making up about 27 percent each.

Damian Gadal / Flickr/Creative Commons

The election is less than a week away and there are a lot of news stories about campaign spending. But are the voters getting a true picture of who is spending what to influence how they vote?

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders implored a crowd of over 1,000 to defeat Donald Trump, unite behind a progressive agenda and elect Democrat Hillary Clinton during a rally at Deering High School in Portland on Tuesday.

The event, exactly one week before Election Day, was Sanders’ second visit on Clinton’s behalf and part of a late 12-state blitz designed to ensure that progressive voters turn out on Election Day. Sanders stressed Maine’s importance in what he described as a tight race.

In this last week before the election, it’s hard to miss the deluge of negative TV and radio ads, but there are also more subtle communications: fliers in the mail, robo calls and negative literature dropped on porches. Leaders of both parties at the State House in Augusta say they’re worried about the effect such messaging will have on legislative races.

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