Waldoboro still counting ballots | News
WALDOBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The votes are just about all counted-except in the town of Waldoboro. There, a team of counters labored over the ballots for the second day on Wednesday, and they aren't expected to be done until Thursday or even Friday.
That's because they're counting long ballots. Waldoboro not only voted on the same primary races as every other community, but also voted for town selectmen and other office holders and the entire, 48-question municipal budget. With more than 1,100 ballots cast in the municipal election, there are many items to count.
Waldoboro used to make these local decisions in a traditional town meeting. But four years ago, voters decided to switch to the referendum ballot instead. That move was prompted by citizen concerns that not enough voters were involved in deciding how much tax money would be spent. The referendum voting was approved, appropriately, in a referendum. But the issue has bounced back and fourth. Town Clerk Linda Perry says the referendum form of voting was approved in 2008, then it was overturned, then reinstated. But in 2011, following defeat of several critical; budget items in the referendum, Waldoboro selectmen held a town meeting to vote again on those items.
That led a group of citizens to file suit, and on Wednesday in Bangor, that suit was heard by the justices of the Maine Supreme Court. Selectmen chair Steve Cartwright says the town's lawyer and the Maine Municipal Association have both told the town that selectmen have the right to decide whether a particular issue should be voted by referendum or open town meeting. The citizens group argues the prior vote by townspeople to revert to the referendum form should be binding for all such votes.
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