Your Vote 2018

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Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

On Tuesday, Maine primary voters will participate in a ranked-choice voting experiment so unprecedented that the state’s top election official sometimes compares what’s about to happen to a perilous space mission.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Mainers are heading to their local polling places Tuesday to cast their votes in a primary race that features a broad number of candidates.

Over the past week, negative ads have emerged from different candidates.

Democratic candidate for governor Janet Mills attacked her opponent Adam Cote for his former Republican position, and Cote’s campaign went after Mills for accepting money from outside the state.

Ned Cabot says the ads did affect his vote.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he will not certify the results of Tuesday's election because of his opposition to ranked-choice voting.  But Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says the governor's threat is hollow, as certification isn't required in party primary nomination contests.

Governor Paul LePage is endorsing Eric Brakey, a state senator who is hoping to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King.

Republican Brakey wants to run this fall against King, an independent.

LePage says he had toyed with the idea of running for U.S. Senate himself. But he declared subsequent rumors "fake news."

The governor said he will help Brakey in any way he can. LePage said Brakey fights for Maine people and freedom.

The governor said Brakey will run against an incumbent senator "who stands with the elites and insiders in Washington."

Gov. Paul LePage said he's “dismayed” with the wording of a ballot question to preserve a new ranked voting method.

Friday LePage called Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's wording “elitist.”

Dunlap said he aimed to make things clear for voters and has additional educational resources for voters online.

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To explain how citizens will experience Ranked Choice Voting next Tuesday Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap visited Maine Calling.

To clarify, as Dunlap noted, you can enroll with one of the two parties on election day if you are currently unenrolled, or have not registered to vote. But to change parties, you must do so 15 days before election day.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is recusing herself from any pending legal actions involving Medicaid expansion, citing her candidacy for governor and stated support for Medicaid expansion

“If there is a role for this office to play, I will defer to their judgement in that regard," Mills says. "It’s important to recognize that I am a candidate for Governor in Tuesday’s primary election and I have taken a strong position on Medicaid expansion.”

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Polling in primary elections has always been difficult, due to typically-low voter turnout. But experts say it is even more arduous when voters are surveyed about their preferences under the new ranked-choice voting law.

Maine Public

The ranked-choice voting system is forcing candidates to think about how they are campaigning, and it will also make voters think twice about their choice. But perhaps no group has more to think about than municipal clerks, the people who will conduct next week's vote.

Whether you touch a screen, fill in an oval or put an X in a box, the way you vote changes next week. And that means changes for people like Sandra Fournier. "It's very stressful,” she says.

Lucas St. Clair helped win national monument designation for the land now known as Katahdin Woods and Waters, and he’d like to win the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District.

Garrett Mason, Maine Senate majority leader, is among four Republicans who would like to succeed Gov. Paul LePage.

Mason was first elected to the Maine Senate in 2010. He is currently serving his fourth term and is now the Senate majority leader. Mason has worked for the Portland Sea Dogs, the city’s AA baseball team, and for the Lewiston MAINEiacs hockey team as a business administrator. He is currently a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Portland.

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Next week, Maine voters will decide whether to continue to use ranked-choice voting in future elections. In anticipation of this decision, two very different campaigns are underway, each attempting to shape public opinion in advance of the election.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting are behind hundreds of thousands of dollars of broadcast advertisements urging Mainers to keep the system they will use for the first time next week, including on featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Thursday, June 7 at 2:00 pm

Maine Public Radio is presenting a series of special Your Vote 2018 primary candidate profiles in our 2 o’clock hour. On June 12, Maine voters will choose Democratic and Republican nominees for governor, and the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Wednesday, June 6 at 2:00 pm

Between now and Thursday, June 7, Maine Public Radio will present a series of special Your Vote 2018 primary candidate profiles in our 2 o’clock hour. On June 12, Maine voters will choose Democratic and Republican nominees for governor, and the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The Republican candidates in Maine's gubernatorial primary race are now hitting the airwaves with ads. Brenda Garrand and Sam Surprise have been watching them closely, and are back to comment on what they see and hear. 

Garrand is the owner of Garrand Mohlenkamp, Surprise runs Surprise Advertising. Garrand is also on Maine Public's board of trustees.  They gathered in our Portland studios earlier this week with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Editor's Note:  This interview was recorded late last month, and, since then, Mary Mayhew has released some campaign ads.

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