Why Change How We Vote Now?

In races or contests whoever comes in first or has the most votes wins. In ranked choice voting this may not be the case. A famous saying in sports circles is: The definition of second place is the first loser. The Maine Constitution has been in effect for nearly 200 years, Maine became a state in 1820, why change things now?

Robert Turcotte,

Woolwich

Tower a Bad Fit for Pennellville

I’m a property owner across Middle Bay from Pennellville, and my family has a historic shipbuilding history in that area similar to the Pennell family. I sit on the historic preservation board of Winter Park Florida, my primary residence.

While hesitant to insert opinions into the local machinations of zoning and towers in a community that is not my hometown this item warrants speaking up. The one ingredient that keeps this bay so beautiful is the historic integrity of the view.

From 1,500 miles away, I oppose the construction of this tower.

John T. Skolfield III,

Member, Skolfield Homes,

Winter Park, Florida

Tax Bill Unfairly Punitive to Grad Students

Cutting off access to higher education is one of the best ways to slow innovation and punish hardworking students. As a practice, it certainly does not seem in line with modern democratic principles. But tucked into the tax plan recently passed by the House is an underhanded move to do just that — by reclassifying graduate school tuition waivers as taxable income. If this part of the House bill becomes law, it would have devastating consequences for graduate students who, in process of pursuing their degrees, complete research that is beneficial for the American public, teach undergraduate students, and live off of minimal annual stipends.

If “graduate school tuition waivers” is an unfamiliar term, here’s how it works: Graduate students often don’t pay the stated tuition at the university they attend. Instead, many of them receive tuition waivers and annual stipends in exchange for teaching work and research that they perform at the university. The tuition waivers aren’t money that the graduate students ever have access to — but the tax bill would treat them that way. The increase in taxes owed could make it impossible for students that can’t count on financial support from parents or other sources to finish their degrees.

I am a graduate of Bowdoin College now working for the Bowdoin Chemistry Department as a lab instructor. In the future, I hope to complete a graduate degree in chemistry. I am not an independently wealthy individual, and I am concerned that the tax bill could make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for me to complete a graduate program. As a former student and now teacher at Bowdoin, I’m familiar with current undergraduates and other recent college graduates who have similar aspirations and concerns.

Given the potential consequences of the House bill, which are both counter to the national interest and unfairly punitive to the individual graduate students affected, I hope that Sen. Susan Collins (along with Sen. Angus King) will oppose the House tax bill.

Danielle Freeman,

Brunswick