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Opinion

Maine Voters Deserve More Freedom: Support Nonpartisan Open Primaries!

Editor's Note: The following piece was originally published as a "Letter to the Editor" for the Portland Press Herald and has been republiched on IVN by request and with permission from the author.

Maine voters still live in a darkened room called the closed primary. In a 2014 New York Times op-ed, Sen. Chuck Schumer urged America to adopt a top-two open-primary system. Sen. Joe Baldacci is sponsoring a top-two open-primary bill in Maine, L.D. 1121. It's truly democracy in action!

In an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, Sen. Chloe Maxmin states: "Building an inclusive democracy starts with semi-open primaries." Why?

In 2017, the Bangor League of Women Voters recommended a top-four open primary with ranked-choice voting, which the state league rejected. Nearly four years later, the Maine League commended the Alaska voter and Alaska League for achieving this first-in-the-nation goal. Alas, Maine could have lived its motto to lead the nation!

The Maine League's "Maine: The State of Our Democracy" report states: "Maine leads the nation in protecting voting rights." Major problem: Everyone's votes are within the two-party system. Alaska is free of it, and the Maine League praised Alaska for that.

May Maine voters and organizations testify in support of Sen. Joe Baldacci's top-two primary election bill at the public hearing April 12. Mainers deserve voter freedom and greater candidate choice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

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About the Author

Joe H. Pickering Jr.

Joe is the president of Mainers for Open Elections. He is also a member of IndependentVoting.org and the National Election Reform Committee.

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