The right to vote and to have your vote counted is woven into our American consciousness, and taking away this right is an assault on all Americans. In Waterville, more than 160 votes were challenged by the mayor because he didn’t like their approval of the plastic bag ban (“As Waterville referendum heads to Supreme Court, outcome eludes experts,” Dec. 21).

Yes, there was a problem with the challenged votes because the voters gave their post office box numbers and not their physical addresses. At least one student didn’t know what a physical address meant, and probably there were lots more.

In the past, voters from Colby College gave their post office box numbers, and there was never a problem, but since Mayor Nick Isgro was not happy with the referendum results, he has tried to toss out these votes on a mere technicality. Colby students voted overwhelmingly in favor of the plastic shopping bag ban, and that is the crux of the issue. Had they voted against the ban using their post office boxes, Mayor Isgro would gladly have accepted them into his fold.

More than half of the students who had their votes challenged, legally rectified the situation with the city clerk so there would be no misunderstanding about where the students lived.

There was no “dark money” or folks with “deep pockets,” as the mayor has stated. Fortunately, Sustain Mid-Maine, which initiated the referendum, found a law firm that will assist proponents of the bag ban, and they are working pro bono.

Here we are now at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and it is here where it will be decided if there will or will not be a ban on plastic shopping bags in Waterville. We hope to prevail and join the 16 other Maine communities that have either banned or placed a fee on single-use plastic shopping bags.

Stu Silverstein


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