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Before you rock your vote…RESEARCH YOUR VOTE!

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Government

 

The general election on November 6th is coming quickly. Are you registered, researched and ready?

 

How do you register to vote? You fill out a voter registration card.   You can register until/on Election Day.  You must register in person and must show ID and proof of where you live. ( 21-A MRSA §121) Where do you register to vote? You can register to vote at your town office or city hall, or through any Motor Vehicle branch office. Completed voter registration cards may be hand delivered (it is too late to mail a voter registration card) to your town office or city hall, or  to the Secretary of State’s Office in Augusta.

If you’ve already registered, but wish to verify your registration, contact the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, your town office or city hall.

Also, make sure you know where you go to cast your vote; find your local polling place.  .

RESEARCH THE CANDIDATES AND ISSUES

  • Go to  Maine.gov for voter information look up; to find out who the candidates are in your district. Also, if you live in Portland you can look up your district information on the city’s webpage. 
  • Read the Easy To Read Voter Guide  published by the League of Women’s Voters of Maine; a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major political policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
  • Read the Maine Citizens Guide to the Referendum Election - inside this booklet, you will find the referendum questions, the legislation each question represents, a summary of the intent and content of the legislation, an explanation of the significance of a “yes” or “no” vote,  and much more information.
  • Find sample ballots on the City of Portland webpage.  Since the ballot is different for each town, look for voter information and a sample ballot at your town’s website. Sample ballots may not be available very far in advance of the election. If your town has not posted a sample ballot, you can call them and ask them to do so.  Find contact information for your town on the State of Maine website.
  • Find the MAINE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Candidates for your district. You can learn more about them on Ballotpedia; a nonprofit and nonpartisan collaborative encyclopedia designed to connect people to politics
  • Search for news articles about the candidates and issues via the Maine Newsstand (with a Maine library card) -an index to and full text coverage of five Maine newspapers. Database includes coverage of the Bangor Daily News (12/3/92-present), the Kennebec Journal (Augusta) (6/11/93-present), the Portland Press Herald (10/30/95-present), Lewiston Sun Journal (2006-present) and the Central Maine Morning Sentinel (Waterville) (8/12/93-present). Selected business coverage of the Maine Times (2/4/94-4/25/02) is also included. Updated daily. Available through MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library.
  • Visit Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting -  Maine’s only nonprofit investigative news service,  providing independent reporting on Maine government and elections.
  • Research Voting History - If a candidate is currently in office or previously held office,  you can view the person’s voting history. In order to do this, you need to know information about a piece of legislation the candidate voted on, such as bill name or number. If the candidate served in Congress, you can find voting history by visiting Congress.gov and checking the Major Actions tab on a piece of legislation, such as Senate bill 3199. Here you’ll find links to Senate sites that contain a record of the vote on the bill. If the candidate served in a state office, then try checking the Maine State Legislature site  for similar information.
  • Use your PPL card to access library databases including Global Issues in Context (a colorful wealth of resources explaining the background and viewpoints necessary for understanding global issues, conflicts, and events) and Opposing Viewpoints (an online resource covering today’s hottest social issues).
  • To learn more about the Electoral College read FAQ’from the Office of the Federal Register.
  • Visit USA.gov- where you can explore topics, conduct a search or even ask questions via chat to a government representative.  Learn about voter registration; researching candidates; tracking fundraising and spending; contributing to the election process; and more.

Voting smart is important. Have questions? Visit your local library!


What’s New in Government Docs?

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Government

Did you know that Portland Public Library has been a part of the Federal Depository Library Program since 1884?

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established, in 1813 by Congress, to ensure that the American public has access to its Government’s information. Depository libraries safeguard the public’s right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the Federal Government.  Portland Public Library provides local, no-fee access to Government information in an impartial environment.

“As institutions committed to equity of access and dedicated to free and unrestricted public use, the nation’s nearly 1,250 depository libraries serve as one of the vital links between “We the people” and our Government. Anyone can visit Federal depository libraries and use the Federal depository collections which are filled with information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, demographics, and numerous other subjects.”  (Source: FDLP Desktop)

Being a FDLP library means that librarians at PPL are happy to help you locate government publications! A “government publication” is  an “informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law” (44 U.S.C. 1901). Each month we receive numerous publications, both in print and electronically, from the Government Printing Office.  Print items our housed at the Main Library on Congress St. and electronic items are available through PPL’s catalog.

Here is a sample of  electronic documents received recently at PPL; or you may view the full list of August Government Documents:

So, as you can see the government prints a wide variety of information. Check in next month to see what’s new!

For more information and government links, please visit PPL’s E-Government Page or contact a reference librarian.

If you find yourself at the Main Library on Congress St. check out the Government Docs book display on the Lower Level featuring some of the interesting documents PPL has received through the years!

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