Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 9, 2017 and Island Ad-Vantages, November 9, 2017 and The Weekly Packet, November 9, 2017
Local voters mirror statewide results in referendum
Question 1 soundly defeated, Medicaid expansion approved
Local voter turnout of about 30 percent was higher than usual for an election year with no candidates running for state or national office. Pictured, citizens cast their votes in Castine.
by Anne Berleant
Voters from Castine to Stonington and Isle au Haut weighed in in favor of Medicaid expansion, a $105 million transportation bond, and a constitutional amendment extending the period of time to cover net losses in the market value of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System investment fund, mirroring statewide results. They also matched an over 80 percent statewide rejection of Question 1, a citizens initiative that would have permitted Shawn Scott to operate a casino in York County.
Question 2, expanding Medicaid to individuals and families earning 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines—a coverage gap between the state-run MaineCare and the Affordable Care Act—passed with 59 percent of the vote, 198,439 to 137,382, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Put forth to voters by a citizens initiative, the outcome makes Maine the first of the 19 states who chose not to expand Medicaid using 90 percent of federal funds to approve the measure through a citizens initiative. With the state legislature having passed bills to expand Medicaid only to have Governor LePage veto them, it is likely that the measure will not be delayed or overturned by the legislature.
Overall, the local voter turnout of about 30 percent was higher than usual for an election year with no candidates running for state or national office.