Support ranked-choice voting

Is ranked-choice voting constitutional? In 2016, the people of Maine voted to adopt ranked-choice voting for 10 different types of elections. This year, the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a non-binding advisory opinion, saying use of ranked-choice voting in general elections for the Maine House and Senate and governor violated the Maine Constitution. No constitutional concerns were raised about its use in state and congressional primaries and general elections for U.S. Senate and House.

The Legislature voted against asking us, the people, whether we would like to amend the Constitution to allow for ranked-choice voting in those three elections. I was disappointed, but the next best thing was a sensible proposal to proceed with ranked-choice voting for the constitutional elections and suspend it for the ones with potential issues. Unfortunately, Augusta voted to delay and repeal ranked-choice voting for all 10 elections, even the ones with no constitutional concerns.

Along with other volunteers up and down the state, I’m circulating petitions for a people’s veto of a bill passed by the Legislature to delay use of ranked-choice voting until 2021. This would keep ranked-choice voting suspended for the three elections with constitutional issues but implement the will of the people for the seven elections with no constitutional concerns.

Cormac Manning
Orono

Trump nominee plagiarized responses

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump’s nominee for White House Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, received a letter from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The letter asked White to rewrite her responses to questions on environmental justice and climate science, based on the fact that 18 of her responses were entirely cut and pasted from other sources.

The committee requested she answer the questions in her own words, and speak to her own efforts. As a nominee, White was chosen by Trump to report on the state of the environment and to oversee implementation of environmental impact assessments.

After watching numerous interviews with her, she makes it clear that she believes human impact on the environment is not worth assessing because it is too minimal. If we hold no responsibility for our impact, then why does a position like the one she is seeking on the Council of Environmental Quality even exist?

Also, it struck me that she believes we should continue to grow the fossil fuel industry, claiming it is our most abundant source of energy. If she is chosen, she will be responsible for developing energy policies, but right now she’s too busy plagiarizing to sit and develop her own thoughts on what that means.

Jordan Turcotte
Brunswick

Impeach Trump

Though I don’t always agree with the positions taken by our two senators, I have a very high regard for both of them. They are well respected by people of both parties and their presence on the national stage always reflects good Maine values. Our current president, on the other hand, is continuously lowering the bar of what the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats alike consider to be common courtesy and respectful behavior. In any other profession, such as teaching, the military, or medicine, his daily actions would be reason for termination.

As the USA Today Editorial Board wrote: “Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

“Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.”

Enough is enough. It is time to impeach the president before we become the laughingstock of a world that will very much welcome leadership from Europe, China and other nations over that of America.

Joe Blotnick
Bernard

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