Voters register with a political party when they believe the tenets of that party reflect their own values and ideals. Each party believes that they have the best vision and policies to offer the voters of Maine and, as such, should welcome the opportunity to open up party primaries to unenrolled voters. While I understand the argument that voters should be required to register with a political party to vote for that party’s nominee in a primary, I think it is ultimately counterproductive to exclude unenrolled voters from the primary process. As the percentage of unenrolled voters in Maine continues to grow, we must begin to embrace these voters and give them a reason to support our candidates, rather than circling the wagons with a big “Unenrolled Voters Keep Out!” banner held high for all to see.
As a supporter of LD 211, which would have opened up the primary system to unenrolled voters, I was disappointed to see that my state representative, Drew Gattine, voted to maintain the status quo. Parties cannot be successful if they do not change and evolve with the times. With his vote, Rep. Gattine effectively sent a message to unenrolled voters that their voices don’t matter.