Maine has over one million registered voters, but approximately 40% are them are not registered with a major political party. Just because neither major party represents you, doesn’t mean you should be barred from the political process.
Our current primaries are paid by all taxpayers and run by our public officials, but 40% of registered voters are not allowed to participate in those primaries.
In this highly polarized political climate, Maine needs open primaries so every voter in Maine can participate in a meaningful way in every election. At a time of rising populist anger, where a greater number of people feel alienated and as if nobody in government is listening to them, allowing everyone to have a voice in the primaries will help direct this anger towards meaningful reform, rather than towards authoritarianism.
Democracies work better the more people participate. Unfortunately, the Maine Legislature had a chance this session to pass open primaries for the 2020 election cycle, but didn’t listen to the vast majority of Mainers who support the idea. I want to thank the legislators who did vote for Open Primaries, and Mainers will have their voices heard one way or the other — we always do.
Barb Ohland lives in Camden