Voters in Maine overwhelmingly voted for an automobile right-to-repair law in last week's elections. The measure passed 84-13%, sending a sharp message to legislators and manufacturers who spent millions of dollars lobbying to block such laws and trying to convince consumers that it should be illegal to repair the things they buy.
"Question 4," which enshrines consumers' data access to car diagnostics for the purposes of repair, passed by a margin of 84.3-15.7 in Tuesday's election with 94 percent of the votes tallied. The yes/no question was simple: "Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?"
Maine's vote shows yet again that right to repair in all of its forms is overwhelmingly popular with consumers, and that they are not swayed by fear mongering campaigns from manufacturers. A similar measure in 2020 passed in Massachusetts with 75 percent support from voters.
The copyright expansion on which "you don't own what you buy" rests is one of the most universally-despised things among Americans who otherwise agree on little. You just have to put it in the plain terms of what it means in real lives ("repairing things is impossible") and move the decision out of the places where lobbyists and politicians swim in money.