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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Jim Cole / The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will appear at Deering High School this evening for his second stump speech for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The event is part of Sanders’ late 12-state blitz designed to ensure that progressive voters turnout on Election Day.

Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is on a similar cross-country swing. 

The two progressive firebrands are attempting to close an enthusiasm gap between Clinton and Donald Trump that's reflected in several national tracking polls.

LEWISTON, Maine - The father of a candidate for a Maine state House seat says his son has moved out of state for college and is no longer running.

The Sun Journal reports that candidate Elliot Chicoine is now living in Arizona. The Republican's name remains on the ballot in Maine, however, because he never notified election officials that he was dropping out of the race.

Officially, Democrat Roger Fuller and Chicoine are battling to represent northern Lewiston.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine voters are taking advantage of the state's absentee ballot law and casting votes before election day. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says this year could set a record.

“Right now we have had about just shy of 210,000 absentee ballots requested," Dunlap says. "We expect that number to go up quite a bit in the next few days.”

About 163,000 Maine voters have already cast their ballots. That’s more than used the process in 2014, but short of the record-setting 2008 presidential election, where nearly 237,000 Mainers used the absentee process.

PORTLAND, Maine - A week out from Election Day, we take our final look at this year's crop of campaign ads.  Joining Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz for a chat Monday was Brenda Garrand, chief executive at Garrand Partners in Portland, and Sam Surprise, of Surprise advertising.

The head of the state agency that would be charged with overseeing marijuana regulation under ballot Question 1 says his department is simply not prepared to take on that responsibility.

Walter Whitcomb, the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is urging Mainers to carefully consider their support of the citizen initiative. But proponents say Whitcomb’s concerns can be easily addressed.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage created a political action committee over the summer and made it clear that he plans to get involved in state legislative races.

The PAC allows him to directly spend for or against specific candidates, but so far the governor has decided to keep his spending on behalf of his friends, and against his enemies, a secret.

By Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine — The prospects for bigger paychecks and marijuana social clubs could tempt Maine’s younger voters to come to the polls, potentially providing winning margins in tight races on Election Day.

Questions on raising the minimum wage or legalizing the recreational use of marijuana are on the Nov. 8 ballot in Maine and 11 other states.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says young voter turnout could sway tight races, and especially the questions on minimum wage and marijuana.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump promised that “judgment” was coming to Hillary Clinton during a rally at the Open Door Christian Academy in Lisbon on Friday. The rally, before roughly 1,500 people, was Trump’s fifth visit to Maine.

With less than two weeks until the election, political TV ads in the 2nd Congressional District are breaking records. In fact, there are more ads being aired in the race than in any other congressional district in the country.

The Wesleyan University Media project tracks the actual number of TV ads by district, and from Sept. 16 to Oct. 13, there were 9,327 ads designed to influence the 2nd Congressional District race. That’s about twice the number aired in most of the hotly contested races.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

Editor’s note: Off Mic is a blog about things you might have missed in Maine politics. It’s a place for those news tidbits that aren’t quite a story, or that were part of story but were hacked out by a thoughtless editor.

Leftovers from the notebook while wondering if rallies are a good substitute for a ground game ... 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will hold his fifth rally in Maine when he visits Lisbon on Friday.

Trump's visit to the Open Door Christian Academy Gymnasium will follow a stop early that day in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Trump, who is attempting to swipe at least one of Maine's four electoral votes, made a similar swing to northern New England when he held rallies in Portsmouth and Bangor on the same day earlier this month.

PORTLAND, Maine - Some Mainers will be able to ride the bus free to the polls on Election Day. In Portland, METRO marketing director Denise Beck says the agency read about other bus services offering the free rides, and it seemed like a good idea.

"It takes away a barrier for some people," Beck says. "There's going to be a lot of traffic, it may be hard some people to get to the polls. We have frequent service throughout the area, it'll be pretty easy because we have routes all over the place."

The campaign attempting to strengthen background checks on Maine gun sales says the new law will help curb domestic violence murders committed with a firearm.

During a press conference at the State House Wednesday, supporters of Question 3 said 22 percent of the people who attempted to buy a gun over the last five years but failed their background check at license gun dealers did so because of a history of domestic violence.

But campaign manager David Farmer says those same people could easily buy a gun elsewhere because of a loophole in Maine’s law.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s school children have spoken, and they have chosen Donald Trump and said no to marijuana.

Students from more than 150 Maine schools chose the Republican businessman over Democrat Hillary Clinton in a mock election. They also cast a vote of disapproval about an upcoming statewide referendum that could legalize recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older.

The results were tallied Wednesday in the state capital of Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Maine - President Obama will endorse Democratic state Sen. David Miramant, according to officials with the Maine Democratic Party. 

The endorsement is part of the president's efforts to bolster Democrats' attempts nationwide to loosen Republican control of state legislatures.

Republicans currently have the majority in the Maine Senate, one of 68 chambers under GOP control nationwide.

Maine Democrats believe they can flip the Senate and Miramant's contest with Republican David Emery could be a key race in deciding the balance of power.

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