With absentee ballots having arrived at town offices across Maine this week, voters can now cast their ballots in-person as well as requesting a ballot by mail. At an event outside Bangor City Hall on Thursday, six Mainers explained why they’re voting early and voting in favor of Question One.
Maine voters can visit VoteEarly.me to request an absentee ballot online or find the location of their local town office.
“If we want to keep young people in Maine, we need to pass Question 1. It isn’t just about helping Maine elderly community members age in their homes, it is also about creating good jobs that pay fair wages, especially in rural Maine,” said Jessica Holz, a former home care worker, who noted that her former colleagues make just above minimum wage, with no benefits and the industry faces turnover of 67% a year.
Question 1 will guarantee that all seniors and Mainers with disabilities can get the care they need to stay at home, paid for by narrowing a tax loophole on those who make more than $128,400 a year in personal income, the wealthiest 2.6%.
“Maine has one of the largest and oldest veteran populations in the country. You might think that the VA would cover home care, but too often it doesn’t. Too many veterans right now are suffering from a lack of care or are being sent to facilities far away from their families,” said Alicia Barnes, speaking on behalf of the veterans’ organization Common Defense. “It doesn’t have to be this way. With Question 1, we can make sure that no Maine veteran is left behind.”
In addition to being preferable for older Mainers’ well-being, home care is also far less expensive than institutional care, costing an average of $50,000 a year, compared to more than $100,000 for a nursing home. But even that lower expense puts home care services out of reach for most Maine families.
“Right now, too many Mainers are losing their life savings, seeing their families torn apart, or being forced into nursing homes because of a lack of basic home care,” said Judith Hilton, a small business owner who works two jobs to provide care for her 92-year-old father. “Universal Home Care, paid for by a relatively small tax on those who can best afford it, will only become more necessary as Maine continues to age. It’s time to put this sensible solution into practice.”
“Let’s honor our loved ones and those who served,” said Wilbur ‘Skip’ Worceseter, a U.S. Army veteran from Hermon. “Join me in voting early, today, for yes on Question One.”