In a clear sign of the enthusiasm for Lisa Savage’s campaign, nearly 100 volunteers fanned out across Maine’s largest polling places on Super Tuesday and collected more than 9,000 signatures from registered Maine voters. The total represents nearly 5,000 more signatures than necessary to get Savage on the ballot for United States Senate as an independent. This comes just a week after Savage decided to take an independent route to the ballot when onerous ballot access rules made running as a Green untenable.
“It took us 900 person hours to collect 900 Green signatures,” said Savage, “and fewer than 400 to get over 9,000 signatures from Maine voters of all stripes. That’s a task that’s 23 times easier. Yesterday made it clear that people are hungry for an alternative to the two-party system. What more evidence do you need that the law presents a clear barrier for smaller parties to get on the statewide ballot in Maine?”
While Savage will be an independent on the ballot, she maintains her Green vision for putting people, planet, and peace over profit and bringing a progressive voice to the U.S. Senate. “On Tuesday, volunteer signature gatherers heard loud and clear that Maine voters are eager to have a senator who is not beholden to corporate interests,” Savage said. “Mainers want a new politics, the kind of positive, forward-thinking, innovative campaign made possible by ranked choice voting, where you can vote your hopes, not your fears.”
“We were in more than 50 polling places across the state,” said Savage, “in small towns and large. It was a warm reception. Voters are beginning to understand the new politics ranked choice voting makes possible. Do you want a senator who works for you? Or do you want a senator who works for weapons manufacturers, Wall Street, banks, and fossil fuel companies? Do you want a senator who’s committed to Medicare for All? Or do you want a senator who thinks health should be provided for a profit? All I’m asking is that you vote for the candidate who most closely aligns with your values. Rank me #1. You can still rank a ‘safe’ choice as your #2 or #3 vote.”
The campaign is now in the process of notarizing petitions and having the petitions certified by town and city clerks. Lisa for Maine will certainly, however, meet the March 15 deadline originally mandated for party primary campaigns, even though Savage technically now has until June 1 to acquire signatures for access to November’s ballot.
“I shouldn’t have to unenroll from my party to get on the ballot,” Savage said. “It should not be 15 times easier to do this as an independent. Luckily, the team of volunteers we’ve gathered has a commitment to a better Maine, United States, and world, and they know it’s not the path to the office that’s important, just who’s being sworn into it when the senators of the 117th Congress convene. I’m ready to serve in the U.S. Senate.”
The last time Susan Collins faced a Maine Green Independent was 1996, when John Rensenbrink similarly ran as an independent, though a co-founder of the United States Green Party. In that race, Collins won with 49% of the vote, while Rensenbrink picked up 4%, Constitution Party candidate William Clark took 3%, and Democrat Joe Brennan took 44%. It’s interesting to wonder how ranked choice voting could have changed that contest. The people of Maine may find out just how profoundly ranked choice voting can change a senate race when the polls close in November 2020.
Find information about Lisa’s background, her policy positions, and where to donate to her people-powered campaign at www.LisaforMaine.org.