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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Question 5 on this year’s ballot proposes a dramatic overhaul of Maine’s election system called ranked-choice voting, and recent polls suggest Mainers are open to the using it to elect their governor, state legislators and members of Congress. But the biggest obstacle facing the Yes on 5 campaign isn’t well-funded opposition or even organized opposition — it’s voter confusion.

PORTLAND, Maine - This year’s Maine ballot features five citizen-initiated referenda and a bond issue. Maine Public’s Irwin Gratz talked with longtime political columnist Al Diamon to get his thoughts on the issues and the campaigns being waged around the measures. Al writes the column, “Politics and Other Mistakes,” for several Maine publications.


Chellie Pingree

Oct 25, 2016

Part of our Your Vote 2016 series:

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Democrat) represents Maine's First Congressional District on the U.S. House of Representatives.


Chellie Pingree was elected to Congress for Maine's First Congressional District in 2008. From 2003 to 2007, Chellie served as the National President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen activist group. Before that, she served four terms in the Maine State Senate, representing Knox County. She is also a farmer and small business owner.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Some polls have shown Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump riding high in Maine’s traditionally more conservative 2nd Congressional District. But at least one national pollster is now saying that recent missteps by Trump are causing him to lose ground in northern Maine.

BANGOR, Maine - Democratic 2nd Congressional District candidate Emily Cain said today that Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin let firefighters down when he refused to co-sponsor a healthcare bill for 9/11 first responders.

Poliquin says that he voted for the legislation last December.  But during a Bangor press event, John Martell, president of the Professional Firefighters of Maine and a Cain supporter, said that doesn't matter.

PORTLAND, Maine - Several municipalities across Maine have moved to enact moratoriums on marijuana social clubs and retailers in anticipation of the passage of referendum Question 1 on the November ballot.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the ballot measure would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 if it's ultimately approved.

LEWISTON, Ma - Officials say Donald Trump Jr. will be in Maine to campaign for his father at events in Lewiston, Auburn and Gray in the near future.

Trump Jr., the executive vice president of The Trump Organization, is the oldest child of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Attempts made by the Portland Press Herald to confirm details of the events and the exact timing of Trump Jr.'s visit to Maine were unsuccessful.

The candidate has visited the state four times during his campaign, the latest of which was a rally held in Bangor on Oct. 15.

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette is calling on a GOP legislative candidate to drop out after he was arrested Sunday for alleged domestic assault in Saco.

The candidate, Mark Bedell, is being held without bail at the York County Jail, according to the Saco Police Department.

Police say they arrested Bedell Sunday night after a 42-year-old woman reported he had assaulted her earlier that day.

Bedell, age 50, was charged with aggravated assault, a Class B crime. Bedell is expected to be arraigned this afternoon.

Mark Holbrook

Oct 24, 2016

Part of our Your Vote 2016 series: 

Mark Holbrook is the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for Maine's First Congressional District.


Mark Holbrook holds a PhD in clinical psychology; he has worked as a police officer, teacher, lobsterman, volunteer fireman and commercial diver.

Holbrook was a candidate for Maine House District 50 (2014) and secretary and chairman of the Brunswick Republican Town Committee.

You may have been hearing a lot on the news about the five referenda on the Maine ballot this November as well as the political ads. But there is actually also a “question six” as well. It asks voters to approve borrowing of $100 million for transportation projects.

PORTLAND, Maine - A survey done for Colby College and the Boston Globe shows a growing, bi-partisan desire for compromise on political issues.  

Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby's Goldfarb Center, says the most recent poll results show a shift in attitudes over the last six years:

"Spring of 2010, very few strong conservatives and Republicans wanted to compromise," Shea says. "I think that they thought they were going to win the mid-term election - which, of course, they did.  And they sort of stuck with that for a while.  Now that's changed."

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell speaking about political civility during a Maine Council of Churches event in Waterville on October 20, 2016.
Mal Leary/maine public

(Watch Now)

Tuesday, October 25 at 2:00 pm

Speaking in Maine takes us next to Waterville and a recent Maine Council of Churches event with Senator George Mitchell.

Debate: Ballot Question 5

Oct 21, 2016

YOUR VOTE 2016 - BALLOT QUESTION 5 - We host a debate on Ballot Question 5 - An act to establish ranked-choice voting (live from our Lewiston studio)

Guests: Representing Yes on Question 5 - Kyle Bailey, Campaign Manager of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting  

Representing No on Question 5 - Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough  

This video from Minnesota Public Radio offers a clever explanation of how ranked choice voting works: Click here to view the video.

Former Maine Sen. George Mitchell speaks at a symposium in Waterville Thursday on civility in politics.
Mal Leary/maine public

WATERVILLE, Maine - At a statewide symposium on civility in politics held by the Maine Council of Churches, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell denounced the incivility of this year’s campaigns and called for a return to principled discourse.

PORTLAND, Maine - Supporters and opponents of referendum questions on the November ballot in Maine have spent more than $2 million so far on television ads.

Data released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity indicate that more than 4,000 ads have aired on four proposals - to expand background checks for gun purchases, legalize recreational marijuana, boost the minimum wage and tax wealthy Mainers to help schools.

The analysis shows $1.3 million has been spent on more than 2,500 ads on the referendum to expand background checks for gun purchases.