On Nov. 2, voters approved Maine Question 1, which prohibited the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The ballot initiative also required a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission line projects. The NECEC is a planned 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine.
Question 1 support and opposition campaigns raised a total of $99.62 million. Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history. As 412,086 people voted on the ballot measure, the cost-per-vote was $241.75.
No CMP Corridor led the campaign in support of Question 1. The PACs Mainers for Local Power and NRCM Yes on Question 1 were also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.65 million, including $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine; $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine. ‘Yes’ on Question 1 received 243,943 votes, providing a support campaign cost-per-vote of $113.33.
Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, Mainers for Fair Laws, and Mainers for Clean Energy Jobs PAC were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $71.97 million, including $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and $20.59 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec. ‘No’ on Question 1 received 168,143 votes, providing a support campaign cost-per-vote of $428.06.
Maine Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure of 2021 and had the highest cost-per-vote. Since 2016, Question 1 had the highest cost-per-vote total and highest cost-per-vote for a single campaign due to the opposition’s contributions received. In 2020, the highest cost-per-vote was $65.48 for Alaska Ballot Measure 1, which addressed oil taxes. Prior to Maine Question 1, the highest cost-per-vote for a campaign since 2016 was $163.97. That 2017 campaign supported a Maine ballot initiative to authorize a casino in York County, Maine. Voters rejected that ballot measure.
- Maine Question 1, Electric Transmission Line Restrictions and Legislative Approval Initiative (2021)