Are you registered to vote in November’s election? Here’s why it’s important and here’s what you need to know about registering and voting.
Six weeks from today, on November 4th, Maine voters will elect a Governor, a U.S. Senator, two members of Congress, 35 State Senators, and 151 State Representatives. Every voter will have the opportunity to cast their vote for Governor, U.S. Senator, one member of Congress, one State Senator and one State Representative. Think this election’s not important because you’re not voting for President? Here are some reasons your vote matters this year:
Maine’s Governor establishes policy for all of state government, appoints dozens of high-ranking officials, and writes the state budget. Do you care about funding for things like family planning, schools, child care assistance? Care about who gets TANF and food supplements? Care about toxins in consumer products? Care about how much you’re paying in state income and sales tax, and where that tax money is going? You should care about who will be elected Governor in November.
U.S. Senators vote to approve nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, and they vote on all federal legislation. Do you care about recent Supreme Court decisions affecting reproductive health care? Care about how the Supreme Court will deal with issues like abortion and marriage equality? Care about federal funding for programs and services that are important to you? Care about U.S. policy around the world? You should care about the U.S. Senate race.
Members of Congress draft and vote on federal legislation. Do you care about the fact that the current Congress has tried to restrict abortion rights over 60 times in the past 2 years? Do you care about whether your employer can decide whether your insurance covers contraceptives? Care about whether federal funding goes to “abstinence only” education programs? Care about the Affordable Care Act? You should care about the Congressional race in your district.
State Senators and Representatives draft and vote on hundreds of pieces of legislation each year. From approving the state budget and tax rates to establishing laws about reproductive rights, gun control, civil rights, environmental protections and economic development, Maine’s legislature controls so many aspects of our lives. Across the country, state legislatures are dealing with an ever-increasing number of proposals to restrict access to abortion and family planning, and Maine is no exception. With multiple bills to restrict reproductive rights in the past two legislative sessions, and expecting more to come in January, you should care about voting for your state senator and your state representative.
Convinced that you need to vote in November’s election? Make sure you’re registered, and your registration is up to date! Here’s what you need to know:
Any U.S. citizen living in Maine who will be 18 by Election Day can register to vote. You can register to vote by filling out a voter registration application. If you’ve moved to a new town, you need to update your registration. You can register in advance at your local town office or by printing a copy of the voter registration application and mailing your completed application to the Secretary of State at 101 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.
You can register at your town hall right up until Election Day. If you want to register by mail, your registration must be received by October 14th, three weeks before Election Day. But don’t worry – YOU CAN REGISTER TO VOTE AT THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY! Just bring your I.D. and some proof of residency – a lease or a utility bill will do!
COMING SOON: You can register to vote at your local Maine Family Planning Health Center! Be on the lookout at your next appointment, or stop by just to complete your voter registration!
We’ll be checking in to the blog regularly in the coming weeks to talk about the election, including topics like:
- How do I learn who’s on the ballot in my community and where they stand on the issues that are important to me?
- I’ve never voted before – what’s it like?
- Referendums? Bond Issues? What else will be decided on Election Day?
- Taking care of voting before Election Day – early voting is easy!
- OK, I’ve voted. How do I make sure my elected officials represent my views?