Maine Question 1 Going Down to the Wire

by Paul Hogarth on October 29, 2009

This morning, I will arrive at Portland International Jetport – to spend the last six days of the campaign for “No on 1.” Maine isn’t used to having its elections in the national spotlight, but the outcome will have a profound effect in the fight for marriage equality – and only 500,000 people are expected to vote. I left Maine two weeks ago, feeling very optimistic about how the campaign was reaching out to voters, and staying on message. I remain hopeful in the final week, but am getting nervous at how the opposition has taken their nasty attacks to a whole new level – worse than what we saw last year in California. We should win, but only if we have enough volunteers on the ground to get every last voter out. I will be at a hotel in South Portland – coordinating the out-of-state travelers who are driving up from neighboring states. We still need more – so if you know anyone on the East Coast, tell them to join us.

“No on 1” has done three things very well, which have been a remarkable contrast with how “No on 8” ran their effort. First, they have refused to let the opposition own the “religion” issue. Second, they have not let the other side own the “children” issue. From the first campaign ad, “No on 1” has talked about that many children have same-sex parents – and that these families deserve the same dignity. Third, they have run an impressive field campaign – one that doesn’t ignore any part of the state, and is aggressively banking early absentee votes.

And people are coming from out of the woodwork to help. The “No on 1” campaign is genuinely humbled by the $1.3 million that bloggers have raised for the effort, which is almost a third of the entire campaign budget. When I helped start “Travel for Change Maine,” I knew that a lot of Californians would want to go to Maine to defeat Question 1 – based upon what happened last year with Prop 8. But we’ve been getting out-of-state volunteers from all over the country (like New York and North Carolina), for very much the same reason.

Last weekend, one group sent 350 volunteers to canvass the streets of Portland on behalf of the “No on 1” cause. It was not the Human Rights Campaign, the Maine Democratic Party, or the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force – although they’ve all been helping too. It was the Harry Potter Alliance – who have taken on this cause with gusto, determined to protect marriage equality.

But it’s going to be tough. Many of our supporters don’t vote in off-year election, which means we will have to get each and every person out to the polls. That’s why we need everyone we can get for the last four days of GOTV. Portland is only a two-hour drive from Boston, three hours from Hartford, four hours from Albany, and five hours from New York City. If you – or anyone you know – lives on the East Coast, come up this weekend. Sign up at, and I’ll see you at the hotel!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Can’t go to Maine? You can still make phone calls for the “No on 1” campaign this weekend, either from home or at several locations in the Bay Area.

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