Maine voters have an unprecedented opportunity this November to reform our campaign finance system and elevate the voice of everyday Mainers in our political process.

In recent years, we have seen increased amounts of money spent on Maine elections, sometimes from out-of-state special interests that want to influence our local elections. Many times, we don’t know where or who the money comes from.

That’s why Question 1 and our yes votes are so important. If voters approve Question 1, it will:

• Increase transparency and accountability in our political process.

• Require big money groups to disclose their top donors on all political advertisements and mail pieces so we know who is asking for our vote.

• Strengthen Maine’s landmark Clean Elections Program, which allows candidates to run for office without being dependent on funds from outside sources and wealthy special interests.

Question 1 allows Clean Election candidates to be eligible for additional funds as long as they demonstrate “local community support.” This levels the playing field and allows Clean Election candidates to compete against better-financed opponents while at the same time it ensures politicians are accountable to us — the local people — and not to wealthy campaign donors with their own agenda.

Finally, Question 1 will significantly increase fines and penalties for late and/or fraudulent reports of campaign finances. These are common-sense reforms that will return control of elections to the hands of Maine voters. I urge others to vote yes on Question 1, and support local Clean Election candidates.

Kate Newkirk

Winslow


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