Fifty-four years ago at the age of 21, I proudly registered to vote and have voted in every election since. Today, my pride has changed to fear that the very foundation of our democracy is under attack. My voice, and those of other ordinary Mainers, is being drowned out by vast sums of money being spent on political campaigns. In November, candidates for governor and the state Legislature spent nearly $12 million getting elected.

While this is a large sum, at least individual donations are capped and the names of the donors are made public.

What is more alarming is that more money — $14 million — was spent in Maine by political action committees and groups masquerading as nonprofit organizations. And these “nonprofits” do not need to disclose their members.

There is something we can do in Maine to halt this spread of outside, unaccountable money. On Jan. 21, more than 200 people gathered at the State House to turn in 85,185 signatures to qualify the Clean Elections Initiative for the 2015 ballot. In November, I collected signatures at the Monmouth polls and was amazed by the enthusiasm shown by my neighbors for the initiative — nearly one-third of voters signed the petition.

The initiative will strengthen Maine’s First in the Nation Clean Election Act, while also increasing transparency in campaign ads to ensure that politicians are accountable to the voters in their district, and not outside special interests.

On Saturday, March 7, I will join volunteers from across the state to discuss how we can win this initiative, and I hope other people will join us. For more information, visit mainecleanelections.org.

Linda Wilcox

North Monmouth


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