Review of Nov. 2 ballot questions

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FARMINGTON – Municipalities across the state are preparing for the upcoming Nov. 2 elections. Locally, voters will consider the three ballot questions proposed to all residents, as well as two additional questions specific to Franklin County.

Question 1 will ask whether voters want to ban construction of “high-impact” electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, most notably the New England Clean Energy Connect, and if the state should require approval by a two-thirds vote for all future projects. A yes vote will agree with the ban, while a no vote will allow construction to continue. High-impact is defined as 50 miles or more in length, outside of a statutory corridor or petitioned corridor, not a generator interconnection transmission facility or not constructed to primarily provide electric reliability. The question was designed to stop the NECEC, which falls under the definiton of ‘high-impact,’ and is currently underway with construction.

Question 2 will ask whether voters favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for the improvement of roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit facilities, ports and other transportation investments. If approved, the money would leverage an estimated $253,000,000 in federal and other funding.

Question 3 will ask Mainers to weigh in on amending the state’s constitution to declare that “all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”

In Franklin County, voters will weigh in on two questions in regards to the County Commissioners.

Commissioners will first ask voters to grant permission for them to appoint the county’s treasurer; currently, the position is an elected one.

Secondly, voters will determine whether the county should have five commissioners instead of three, which would include redistricting and would begin in 2024. A similar bill was approved by legislation last year, but commissioners decided not to spend the money on the ballot election. The three current commissioners represent three districts: Terry Brann represents District 1 which covers Carthage, Jay, Wilton, Temple, Washington and Perkins Township; Lance Harvell represents Chesterville, Farmington and New Sharon as District 2; and Clyde Barker sits as District 3 representative which covers 14 towns from New Vineyard to Eustis to Weld as well as five unorganized territories.

Absentee ballots are now available at local town offices. In-person elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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