Maine Seeking U.S. Congress Term Limits, Question 1 (1996)

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The Maine Seeking U.S. Congress Term Limits Initiative, also known as Question 1, was on the November 5, 1996 ballot in Maine as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was approved.[1] The measure sought to impose term limits of three terms for the United States House of Representatives and two terms for the United States Senate through five provisions. The first directed the state legislature to apply to the United States Congress to call a constitutional convention, pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution to create an amendment for congressional term limits. Second, it directed each member of the Maine congressional delegation to vote in favor of such constitutional term limits.[2][3]

Third, it required the secretary of state to print on any election ballot the phrase "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" next to the name of any member of the state legislature of any governor who fails to use all of his or her power to secure the passage of an application for the federal constitutional convention. Fourth, it required the same phrase placement by any member of the congressional delegation who fails to exercise all of their legislative powers to pass such an amendment. Finally, it required the secretary of state to print on any election ballot the phrase "REFUSED TO PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMIT" next to the name of any candidate for governor, state legislature or U.S. Congress who fails to sign a form pledging to use all of their powers to pass such an amendment.[2][3]

Background

See also: Maine U.S. Congress Term Limits, Question 1 (1994)

In 1994, another indirect initiated state statute would have directed the secretary of state to not place on the ballot any candidates for the United States House of Representatives who had been elected to represent the state in that office for any six of the previous eleven years or any candidates for United States Senate who had been elected to represent the state in that office for any 12 of the previous 17 years. The measure did not prohibit persons from voting for or running as write-in candidates. It applied to times served beginning January 1, 1995.[4][5][6]

While the measure was approved by voters, it was declared unconstitutional by the Maine Federal District Court on May 26, 1995. The court found that the measure violated the Qualification Clauses of the United States Constitution and permanently enjoined the secretary of state and attorney general from implementing, carrying out or enforcing the law.[6]

Election results

Maine Question 1 (1996)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 318,119 58.51%
No225,62041.49%

Election results via: Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, Votes on Initiated Bills 1980-

Text of measure

Maine 1996 sample ballot for statewide measures

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

QUESTION 1: CITIZEN INITIATIVE

Do you want Maine to require candidates and elected officials to show support for Congressional term limits or have their refusal printed on the ballot? [7]

Similar measures

Maine was not the only state to vote upon the issue of congressional term limits in 1996:

See also

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