I was born and raised in Lebanon, Maine, and currently reside in Sanford. As of the 2018 general election, 40 percent of the residents of Sanford were not enrolled in a political party. (https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/data/data-pdf/r-e-active1118.pdf)

Having just moved back to Maine after attending graduate school in California, I will soon be registering to vote in my hometown and need to make a decision as to whether I want to join a party or remain “independent.” This is not an easy decision to make, particularly given how polarized politics in this country has become.

By 2020, Millennials and Gen Z’ers will outnumber every other generation, including baby boomers, who have long had a demographic advantage in electoral politics. Older voters are much more likely to affiliate with an established political party than their younger counterparts, and while we are less inclined to align ourselves with one party over another, that doesn’t mean we don’t care. In fact, we are more politically engaged than ever.

If we want more people to vote, especially young people, our elected officials should be making it easier, not more difficult, for those who want to cast a ballot in a primary election to do so. Apparently a majority of the Maine legislature disagrees, and that is truly unfortunate.

Justin Smith