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Politics

Maine voters say the Question 1 ad blitz didn’t clear things up for them

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Steve Mistler
/
Maine Public
A sampling of political mailers sent to Maine voters on Question 1.

Question 1 on the ballot may have been the most expensive referendum in Maine history but that doesn't mean voters were helped by the barrage of advertisements they've been seeing for months on TV.

The citizen-initiated effort to halt construction of Central Maine Power's transmission line through western Maine has been awash in claims and counterclaims that Michael Douglas of Lewiston say are difficult to sort out.

"You know, the retroactive laws, that's a little confusing for some people," Douglas says. "I've done a little bit of research but you know, it's still kind of not 100% clear to me."

Opponents of Question 1, including CMP and Hydro-Quebec, have said that passage of the referendum would give politicians power to apply new laws to things that legally happened in the past. Critics point out that Maine lawmakers already have that power.

Adding to the confusion is the wording of the question: A "yes" vote means you oppose the project. A "no" vote means you support it.

More than $70 million has been spent by both sides of the question, the bulk of it by opponents who want to protect their investment in the project.