The results of last week's election aren't contained solely in the success or failure of the big-ticket ballot items. The local elections and the discussion of who voted and why is just as important. Here are some general thoughts on the election of 2009:
Today is election day, which means that tomorrow there will be new narratives to explain why Maine people voted the way they did.
If Question 1 is defeated, then the story may be that Maine is a state of rugged New England individualists who believe people should be able to make their own choices. If Question 1 passes, then perhaps Maine will be thought of as a rural, Catholic state with an elderly electorate.
It's that time of year again, the chance to prove you know the people and the politics of the state of Maine. It's the 2009 Maine Election Pool!
You may remember last year's pool, where readers attempted to predict the 2008 Maine presidential, senate, congressional, legislative and referenda votes and Dan B. came in first with an average calculated error of just over 3% in each race (doing far better than most polls).
No, someone named Wiki hasn't announced a run for governor of Maine (although maybe that did happen and I missed it — it's hard to keep track of all these candidates). The headline refers to my new and half-baked idea about how to cover Maine politics.
Today is election day. Oh sure, there's a day in November when most voters will cast their ballots, but Mainers can request an absentee ballot and vote in the comfort of their own home right now, and an increasing number are choosing to do so.
Elizabeth "Libby" Mitchell has a history of firsts. She was the first woman in Maine to serve as House Majority Leader, the first female Speaker of the House, and when she was elected Senate President last year she became the first woman in the country to have served as head of both chambers of a state's legislature. She now seeks, along with fellow democrats Donna Dion, Rosa Scarcelli and Dawn Hill and Green Independent Lynne Williams, to be the first woman to become governor of Maine.
60,473 petition signatures now sit in cardboard boxes in the offices of Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Dunlap's staff will soon be checking each one to determine if enough are valid to put the new Democrat-backed tax reform law on hold and place a veto referendum of the legislation on the June 2010 primary ballot.
The legislation, which seeks to lower Maine's income tax and broaden the sales tax, has become a controversial issue and a rallying point for all three of Maine's recognized political parties.
The November ballot will be chock-full of referendums, with Mainers asked to vote on everything from school consolidation to gay marriage to the excise tax. Perhaps that, along with the lack of a strong campaign on either side, is why little attention has been paid so far to the citizen initiative that will be listed as question five on the ballot, an attempt to amend Maine's medical marijuana laws to allow easier and more regulated access to the drug.
There's been plenty of talk in Maine's media about where the money is coming from for each side of the equal marriage campaign, but less mention so far of a more important consideration; where their votes are coming from.
According to Edgar Allen Beem, a columnist for the Forecaster, Democratic candidate Rosa Scarcelli will be Maine's next governor. Well, I'm glad to have that wrapped up. Now we can move on to the 2014 election.
Wild speculation aside, Scarcelli does seem to be a candidate worth taking a look at. She may not have any electoral experience but she has a strong business background and what seems like a solid campaign.