L.D. 211, “An Act to Open Maine’s Primaries,” is a common-sense proposal that would improve our electoral process by boosting civic engagement and increasing voter turnout, especially among young voters and veterans, many of whom have not enrolled in any political party. I encourage all voters to support this reform.

I strongly believe that democracy works best when more people are encouraged to participate. Maine’s closed primary law expressly prohibits 35 percent of registered voters from participating in primary elections because they have not chosen to become part of a political party. This is particularly discouraging for young voters. Fifty percent of millennials “describe themselves as political independents,” according to Pew Research, and, as such, are disenfranchised by our closed-primary law.

Maine is one of only 11 states with “member-only” elections that limit participation in primary elections to voters who register with a political party. Voters who have lived in other states are even more likely to be stymied by our “closed primaries” system. This inconsistency disproportionately impacts those voters, such as veterans, who move states frequently. Similar to millennials, 49 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans aren’t enrolled in either major party and so are disenfranchised by Maine’s current closed primary law.

I urge you to contact your elected officials and ask for their support of L.D. 211. Open primaries would encourage greater participation in our electoral process by allowing unenrolled voters to have their voices heard in all elections.

Betts J. Gorsky

Cumberland Foreside

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