Year after year, as our elections draw closer, people complain about the limited number of choices we have at the polls. You can do something about it right now.

Candidates and their supporters are out doing their petition drives for the 2018 primaries. Most people will never understand the incredible amount of effort and sacrifice it takes to engage in our political process as a candidate.

This process is especially difficult for independent and third-party candidates. They usually don’t have the financial resources, infrastructure support and brand recognition afforded the major-party candidates. Yet Maine people continue to move away from major-party affiliation and toward independent or third-party voting status.

If you want choices – and there are some good ones – give them a chance. Sign their petitions and at least place them on the ballot.

By signing a petition, you are not obligating yourself to vote for a particular candidate. You are ensuring that Maine will hear a greater range of ideas, solutions to our problems and visions for our future. These petitions place the candidates on the official ballot, which is the key to gaining media access and participation in debates and other forums. As a Maine voter, you can sign petitions for as many candidates as you’d like in each race. Of course, you can only sign once for each candidate. Why not hear as many voices as we can?

This year, in addition to the major parties and independents, both the Libertarian and Green parties are running candidates in several races. An honest competition for ideas will give us the best chance to shape Maine’s future.

Let’s hear them – all of them. Sign the petitions!

Jim Bouchard

Brunswick