My question to those who say that clean elections is “welfare for politicians” is this: How much is $6 million out of a biennial budget of more than $6.5 billion? It’s less than 1 percent, isn’t it?

Is 1 percent of the Maine budget too much to spend to protect the equality of our votes, one person/one vote? And is it too much to protect our elected representatives from endless fund raising and being obliged to those who give the most. Is it too much to give to save our democracy?

Maine citizens do know that the system is corrupt. Leading up to Question One, more than 85 percent of voters who were presented with the referendum petition were eager to sign on. 

However, in polls, in our state and across the country, a far lower number think anything can be done about it. Yes on Question One is offered to overcome citizen discouragement. 

The Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010 opened the door to Super Pacs. The result in Maine was a sudden doubling of campaign spending. The McCutcheon v. FEC decision removed limits to personal spending. A recent New York Times investigation revealed that already half of the money raised by the candidates for President in 2016 has been raised from 158 families. How much higher and further will the spending go? Is this sustainable? 

I am heartened by the endorsement of Yes on One by Senators King and Mitchell. Senator King spoke last week at Bates College which was aired on MPBN’s Speaking in Maine. I believe that there are many good people in government who need the help of voters to release them from a system corrupted by big money. Many people call that “oligarchy” or “plutocracy.” We need only refer to the framers of the Constitution to understand what that means for representative democracy, the “Republic” that Benjamin Franklin cautioned us could be difficult to keep.

There are no candidates on the November ballot to capture our attention. Let’s think about the fundamental responsibility of citizen voters. Let’s give a strong vote on November 3 because Maine’s 1996 referendum in favor of the Clean Elections system was right then, as the referendum in 2015 is needed to strengthen it.

Carmen Lavertu, Thomaston