LEWISTON, Maine — Voters on Tuesday approved a $100 million transportation bond and passed the first "right to food" amendment in the country.
Question 2 asked voters to support the transportation bond to fund building or improving roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit facilities, and ports.
In a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine, Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note said, "On behalf of the nearly 1,700 dedicated and hardworking team members at the Maine Department of Transportation, I want to thank Maine voters for approving Question 2 today. We are fortunate that Mainers historically have shown overwhelming support for transportation funding, and this year is no different. We never take that support for granted. Thank you."
"The $100 million general obligation bonds connected to Question 2 will trigger up to $253 million in other investments from federal, local, and private partners," he continued. "Combined, this funding represents about 40% of what MaineDOT spends on transportation funding every year. These dollars are critical to our mission. Without these funds, we simply could not do our job for the people who live, work, and travel in Maine."
Voters also supported Question 3, the nation's first "right to food" amendment to the Maine Constitution to declare that all individuals have an inherent right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing.
Supporters used the campaign to make the case the amendment would ensure the right to grow vegetables and raise livestock in an era when corporatization threatens local ownership of the food supply.
Earlier Tuesday, clerks and volunteers around the state saw a steady flow of voters all day Tuesday, according to Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.
Bellows started her day in Westbrook and hoped to make it to Millinocket before the night was over. She said turnout is nothing like it was for the 2020 election cycle but has been pretty good for an off-year election. One thing her office and others will be paying close attention to is absentee ballots.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Bellows said 20,000 requested ballots had not been returned. Folks had until 8 p.m. to get those turned in. Bellows anticipated all three referendum questions to be tallied before the night is over and credits all the hardworking clerks and volunteers around the state.
"It's a fairly simple election from an administrative perspective because it's referendum questions, with some municipal races, one special election for House of Representatives in Augusta and the state capital, but we do think it's going to be fairly smooth and fairly quick," Bellows said.
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