Maine Allow Persons with Mental Illness to Vote, Question 5 (2000)

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The Maine Allow Persons with Mental Illness to Vote Referendum, also known as Question 5, was on the November 7, 2000 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.[1] The measure would have allowed people under guardianship for mental illness the right to vote by repealing the current prohibition against it. This would have amended Section1 of Article II of the Maine Constitution.[2]

Background

In 1997, a similar attempt was made to allow persons under guardianship for mental illness to vote, but it was also defeated.

Court challenge

The Disability Rights Center of Maine filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maine on behalf of three individuals who were under guardianship because of mental illness in 2000. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of the relevant part of Section 1 of Article II of the Maine Constitution. Ultimately, the case failed to repeal or modify this constitutional language.[3]

Election results

Maine Question 5 (2000)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No379,96460.25%
Yes 250,729 39.75%

Election results via: Maine Secretary of State, Elections Division: Referendum Election Tabulations, November 7, 2000

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Question 5: Constitutional Amendment

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to end discrimination against persons under guardianship for mental illness for the purpose of voting? [4]

Summary

The following description of the intent and content of this measure was provided in the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election:

This proposal would authorize an amendment to the Constitution of Maine to remove the current prohibition on voting by persons who are under guardianship for reasons of mental illness. To qualify to vote in Maine, a person needs to be at least 18 years of age, to be a citizen of the United States, and to have an established residence in this state. If ratified, this amendment would remove the only restriction to voting that goes beyond these basic qualifications.

A "YES" vote approves the constitutional amendment.

A "NO" vote disapproves the constitutional amendment. [4]

Maine Secretary of State, [2]

Constitutional changes

The full text of the constitutional changes proposed by this measure can be read here.

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Maine state constitution

Two-thirds of each branch of the state legislature voted to propose this amendment to the Maine Constitution. It was approved by the legislature on April 4, 2000.[2]

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