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  • Quinn Malter

What are this year's referendum questions?

Election Day is this Tuesday, November 2nd, and there are three referendums on the ballot this year. We’re here to tell you more about the questions on the ballot and what they represent.

Question 1: The CMP Corridor

“Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?”

This question is designed specifically to address the controversial CMP corridor, a project designed to deliver hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts via an energy corridor in the North Maine Woods. This is a citizens’ referendum, meaning the question was placed on the ballot through a signature campaign. It is also the most expensive referendum fight in Maine’s history, with over $60 million in spending.

A “yes” vote bans the construction of the CMP corridor. A “no” vote allows construction to continue.

Some background: When CMP first made its deal to build the corridor in 2014, it did so without legislative review. This angered a number of Mainers because the proposed route of the corridor cut through public lands. Opponents of the corridor sued, and a Superior Court ruled against CMP. The company appealed to the Maine Supreme Court, but no ruling has been handed down yet.

For more information, including debunking many of the claims in TV ads and mailers, visit these resources:

Question 2: Transportation Bonds

“Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue to build or improve roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit facilities and ports and make other transportation investments, to be used to leverage an estimated $253,000,000 in federal and other funds?”

Bond votes are pretty standard on ballots. They concern funding used for state projects like infrastructure. In this case, $85 million would go towards improving highways, roads, and bridges, and $15 million would improve railroads and ports.

Question 3: The Right to Food Amendment

“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to declare that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being?”

This measure, introduced by State Senator Craig Hickman, would add an amendment to the state Constitution guaranteeing a right to food, but it’s not as straightforward as that. This is less about guaranteed access to food as much as it is about where the food comes from.

Supporters of the measure say it promotes growing and consuming locally-grown food, as Maine imports 90 percent of its food from out of state. Opponents worry it may limit regulations on hunting and food safety.

For more information, see this Bangor Daily News article: What you need to know before voting on Maine’s ‘right to food’ referendum.

No matter where you stand on these issues, it’s vital that you make your voice heard. Make sure you vote on Tuesday, November 2nd!

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