By Ramona du Houx
The two bond questions for the July 14, 2020 Special Referendum election are on internet infrastructure and transportation.
In living memory there has never been a better time to bond. Interest rates are a the lowest they have ever been. Both bond questions are modest and affordable for the people of Maine to seriously consider.
Broad band infrastructure has been highlighted during COVID-19, as not all areas in the state have decent service. Too many rural areas have spotty service, if any. Governor John Baldacci started ConnectME authority in his first term. And while millions were allocated for increasing the service from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there are too many areas still undeserved. Governor Janet Mills pledged to do more during her 2020 State of the State address. This is part of that initiative.
As for highways, roads and bridges most citizens can judge for themselves going to the grocery store how much a bond for transportation infrastructure is needed.
Secretary Dunlap and Deputy Secretary of the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions Julie Flynn determined the bond question ballot order by random drawing on April 21, 2020.
The bond questions are:
• Question 1: Internet Infrastructure Bond (PL 673, Sec. B-10) https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_129th/chapters/PUBLIC673.asp “Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to invest in high-speed internet infrastructure for unserved and underserved areas, to be used to match up to $30,000,000 in federal, private, local or other funds?”
• Question 2: Transportation Bond (PL 673, Sec. A-9)https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_129th/chapters/PUBLIC673.asp Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue for improvement of highways and bridges statewide and for multimodal facilities or equipment related to transit, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, ports, harbors, marine transportation and active transportation projects, to be used to match an estimated $275,000,000 in federal and other funds?
Voters will decide on the two bond questions on the same day as the State Primary Election. Both Democrats and Republicans have candidates in the primary for Congressional seats.
Democratic primary candidates
Republican primary candidates
Visit the Upcoming Elections webpage https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html for additional information. The Absentee Ballot Request https://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl service for this election is live, allowing registered voters to easily request their ballots via mail. Voters can also request their ballot from their municipal clerk directly or vote in person on Election Day.
Maine citizens who need to register to vote can access the Maine Voter Registration application https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/pdf/voterregcard20.pdf on our website and submit their completed form via mail to their town clerk.