Polls have closed, and the results are in.
Maine voters have officially rejected the establishment of Pine Tree Power. The automotive right to repair has been cemented in state law. Foreign governments have been banned from campaigning in local and state elections.
These are just a few of the changes that voters wrought at the ballot box on election day this year.
Mainers went to the polls today to make their voices heard on a series of eight statewide referendum questions in addition to voting for their municipal representatives.
Below is a complete breakdown of what the voters have decided.
Going into election day, two ballot questions dominated voters’ attention — Question 3 and Question 4.
Question 3 asked Maine voters to decide if they wanted to replace the state’s two current investor-owned electricity suppliers — Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant — with the consumer-owned, quasi-governmental Pine Tree Power.
A large percentage of Mainers voted to strike down the establishment of Pine Tree Power, which aligns with the expectations set by a University of New Hampshire (UNH) poll conducted at the end of October.
In that poll, 56 percent of respondents said that they planned to vote in opposition to Question 3, while 13 percent indicated that they were still undecided on the matter as election day approached.
Question 4 — commonly referred to as the automotive “right to repair” measure — asked voters if they wanted to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic system to allow independent mechanics access to the information necessary to repair vehicles.
A substantial percentage of Maine voters approved this measure earlier today, aligning with the expectations set by the UNH poll.
In that survey, an overwhelming 76 percent of respondents expressed an intention to vote in favor the Question 4.
The other two citizens’ initiatives that were up for consideration at the ballot box today — Question 1 and Question 2 — were less widely talked about leading up to the election day, Mainers nonetheless weighed in.
Question 1 — developed primarily as a “safety valve” by opponents of Question 3 — asked voters if they wanted to require quasi-governmental entities to obtain public approval before taking out $1 billion or more in debt.
A significant percentage of voters accepted this measure. Given that Mainers also rejected the establishment of Pine Tree Power, however, it is unlikely that the new law will come into play anytime in the near future.
Based on the results of the UNH poll, it was expected that a substantial 59 percent of voters would approve of this measure. Given the overwhelming opposition to Pine Tree Power seen in Question 3, it is unsurprising that Question 1 was approved by voters as well.
Question 2 asked Mainers if they wanted to prohibit foreign governments — as well as entities owned by foreign governments — to campaign for or against state and local candidates, as well as on referendums.
The overwhelming majority of Mainers who voted today supported this measure, which is reflective of the 75 percent of respondents in the UNH who said they intended to vote in favor of Question 2.
Prior to election day, Mainers appeared to have had little exposure to the four constitutional amendments on which they were asked to decide.
Question 5 — which asked voters if they wanted to amend the constitution to allow the Secretary of State’s office more time to review citizen petitions, particularly around election time — was approved by a majority of Mainers at the polls.
Mainers ultimately voted in favor of this change, but they did so by a smaller majority in comparison to some of the other ballot questions.
Question 6 asked voters to decide if they wanted to require all provisions of the Maine State Constitution to be included in official printed copies of the document.
Although this appears on the surface to be a straightforward proposition, when Mainers voted on Question 6, they were actually deciding if they wanted to print portions of the state constitution that are no longer relevant or applicable, including with relation to the state’s previous obligations to the Wabanaki Nations in the 1800s.
A substantial majority of Maine voters decided to approve this amendment to the state’s constitution.
Question 7 asked Mainers to decide if they wanted to enact an amendment allowing those who are not residents of the state, or are not registered Maine voters, to help circulate citizen petitions — an amendment that was designed to bring Maine’s constitution into line with Supreme Court precedent.
A sizeable percentage of Mainers voted in opposition to the amendment, meaning that Maine’s constitutional standards will remain out of compliance with the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling.
Question 8 — the final question on the ballot — asked Maine voters if they wanted to bring the state’s constitution into agreement with state law, as well as prior legal precedent, by removing a provision prohibiting those under legal guardianship for mental illness from voting.
Mainers voted by a very slim margin — especially in comparison to the other proposal s on the ballot — to reject this constitutional amendment.
The vote was so close that sources were not able to make a final determination of the outcome until over 90% of votes had been tallied more than twelve hours after the polls had closed.
This graphic will be updated with final vote tallies for each of the ballot questions as they become available.
Note — This article was updated on November 8 with the results of Question 8 after they were determined.