Good morning, folks, and happy Election Day to you. Have you ever wondered why Election Day is on the first Tuesday in November?
I didn’t until just now when I was scrambling to find fodder for the Daily Brief.
Before we go there, here’s an “Election Day” soundtrack to put you in the mood, even if it’s performed by a bunch of Brits. You can blame Google.
Anyway, Election Day is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November because of church, harvesting the crops and bringing them to market. I found this information on CNN’s website, so it must be true.
(UPDATE: Election Day never falls on Nov. 1, I’ve been reminded. It’s on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, not the first Tuesday as previously stated in this post).
Back in the days of horses and carriages, it could take a day or two to travel to the polling location. A Tuesday election allowed folks to go to church on Sunday, ride to the county seat on Monday and vote on Tuesday, with plenty of time to return to market day on Wednesday.
On top of that, the month of November was seen as ideal because it was nestled between the harvest and the onset of winter.
Some people are pushing — though not very hard, it seems — to move elections to a weekend day in an effort to increase voter turnout percentages. As the BDN’s Michael Shepherd reported yesterday, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap predicts a turnout today of between 13 percent and 17 percent of registered voters. That’s pretty low, but maybe typical for an off-year election with few candidates, though I’m guessing there are some questions on your local ballot that need your input.
For comparison, the nationwide turnout last year was a bit above 42 percent. That puts the United States way, way down the international list, which is topped with scores of countries where more than 80 percent of people vote (yes, I realize some of those countries rig their elections or compel their people to vote with threats of violence).
Anyway, there are three statewide questions on today’s ballot, including reforms to Maine’s taxpayer-funded election system and two questions that would allow the state to borrow $100 million for transportation and housing. Here’s a primer on the three statewide questions, if you’re interested.
Oh, and don’t be surprised if there are people at your polling station looking for your signature on any of a few different citizen initiatives that will make next November’s ballot much more interesting than today’s. The petition efforts include a ranked-choice voting measure, a marijuana legalization attempt and the Maine Republican Party’s bid to reduce the income tax and institute welfare reforms.
Don’t forget, you can watch the election results roll in tonight, in real time, at bangordailynews.com.
I’m guessing that my small-town polling station, as is usual during the November election, will have a big bowl of left-over Halloween candy and some nifty “I voted” stickers to impress my friends. Does your town have those benefits? You won’t know unless you show up. — Christopher Cousins
LePage rescinded executive orders so he could re-issue them
Remember last month when there was a dust-up over some executive orders that were issued by Gov. Paul LePage months ago, but which were never properly filed? The whole thing raised questions about whether an executive order has any authority when it never leaves the executive’s office. Though it was a clear violation of the law, it amounted to a minor paper-pushing scandal, if there is such a thing.
I missed during my initial reporting on the issue that the governor had to issue an executive order to rescind four executive orders so he could reissue the executive orders properly. You can read it by clicking here.
I asked the LePage administration why three other executive orders that were in question earlier this year were not rescinded and re-issued — there were a total of seven that were not filed properly — I was told that they were “filed properly.”
Interestingly, the executive order notes that “every person in the state of Maine has a right to know the substance of the executive orders that are issued” and the four executive orders in question “were issued earlier this year with limited publicity.”
Well, if publicity was the goal, mission accomplished. If you still haven’t had enough, you can read all of LePage’s executive orders on his website. — Christopher Cousins
- Maine cities could have outsized impact on Tuesday’s election — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- Maine to vote on revamping pioneering campaign-finance law — Dave Sherwood, Reuters
- City officials meet over possible ethics violation by Baldacci — Evan Belanger, BDN
- Obama signs budget deal and debt limit suspension — Paul M. Krawzak, CQ-Roll Call
- $6.5 million in conservation bonds held up by LePage officially expire — A.J. Higgins, MPBN
- LePage to hold town hall meeting in Rockland — Stephen Betts, BDN
- Hearing to question late formation of Maine cold-case squad — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN
- Where Mainers have no health insurance, mapped — Dan MacLeod, BDN
- Go forth and vote. There’s really no reason not to — BDN editorial
Cleansing your aural palette
If you actually clicked on the soundtrack at the top of today’s Daily Brief, I apologize. As catchy songs will, even if they’re annoying, it’s stuck in my head like a burdock in my golden retriever’s tail.
Here’s a little something bluesy that’s better, even if Ronnie Van Zant was too baked or whatever to remember when the new album was coming out. — Christopher Cousins