Weekly Radio Address: Hill says, "Lawmakers need to put process ahead of politics."
For most folks, the 2014 election is in the rear view mirror. But for the candidates and residents of Senate District 25—-and for the Maine Senate, this election wasn’t resolved until just days ago.
Good Morning. This is State Senator Dawn Hill, the Assistant Democratic Leader.
It all started on election day, when Cathy Breen, the Democrat, won–for the first time. Next came the recount, when 21 extra ballots from Long Island were counted for the Republican challenger–and flipped the race in her favor.
For three weeks, questions abound about what happened to cause 21 more ballots than voters on Long Island. It was this question that triggered a special elections committee in the Maine Senate.
After five hours of testimony, an examination of the ballot box, and a recount of the Long Island ballots, it was revealed that the 21 phantom ballots that appeared at the recount were actually the same 21 ballots but they were counted twice.
Cathy Breen and Democratic leadership knew that something wasn’t right–and the result from the investigation was vindication for all of us who stood our ground and stood up for voter integrity.
As lawmakers, one of the most important jobs we have is to preserve the integrity of the electoral system. The investigation by the special election’s committee allowed us to find the answers needed to solve the mystery–and move on to seating the right Senator–the Senator who won with the most votes.
We can all be reassured that the electoral system held up and we can all, once again, have confidence that all votes are counted–and count only once.
As the Vice-Chair of the Senate’s special elections committee, I am proud of the work this seven-member panel did. In a highly politicized environment, the four Republicans and three Democrats on the committee checked their party affiliation at the door and got to work to solve this phantom-ballot mystery.
Some Republicans, who were not on the committee, were quick to politicize this process by turning a blind eye and dismissing the facts. But, for those of us on the committee, it was about getting to the bottom of what happened.
This should be a lesson to all, that as lawmakers, we need to put process ahead of politics.
The election is behind us–all of us. And, going forward, it is time to put pettiness aside, play fair, and remember why we’re all here: to make a difference. To solve problems. To make our communities and our state a better place.
Thank you for listening. This is Assistant Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York. Have a great weekend.