Signature requirements for ballot measures in Maine
|Laws • History|
|List of measures|
Maine statewide ballot measures come in five different varieties.
- Indirect initiated state statutes, which earn a spot on the ballot when sponsors collect signatures according to the laws governing the initiative process in Maine. In Maine, which became the first state east of the Mississippi to adopt a constitutional provision for statewide initiative in 1908, all initiatives are indirect.
- Veto referenda. When citizens of Maine disagree with a statute or legislative bill enacted by the state legislature, they can collect signatures to force the issue to a vote. If enough signatures are collected, the bill is placed on the statewide ballot. In Maine, the veto referendum process is known as the "People's Veto." Twenty-seven such measures have appeared on Maine ballots, from the first in 1910 to the most recent in 2008. See List of People's Veto ballot measures in Maine.
- Legislatively-referred constitutional amendments. These are voted onto the ballot when both houses of the Maine State Legislature agree to put them on the ballot by a 2/3rds vote. See List of amendments to the Maine Constitution.
- Bonding propositions placed on the ballot by the state legislature.
- Legislatively-referred state statutes. Appears on a state's ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
The signature requirements as follows: The required number of valid signatures for both statewide initiatives and referendums are the same. It is tied to the number of votes cast for the office of the Governor of Maine in the most recent gubernatorial election. Gubernatorial elections are held in Maine every four years. The requirement is 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor (excluding blanks) in the most recent election as established in Article 4, Part Third, Section 18, sub-section 2 of the Maine Constitution.
|Year||Initiated statute||Veto referendum|
Basis for calculation
In the state's 2010 gubernatorial election, 572,766 votes were cast, versus the 550,870 votes that were cast in the state's 2006 gubernatorial election. The number of required signatures will change again after the state's 2014 gubernatorial election.
The deadline for filing initiative and referenda signatures was changed in 2006 when Maine Initiative Petition Deadlines Amendment (2006) was approved and added to the Maine Constitution.
According to Article 4, Part Third, Section 18, sub-section 2, the filing deadlines for initiatives are:
- First Regular Session: By 5:00 p.m. on or before the 50th day after the convening of the Legislature. The first regular session convenes on the first Wednesday of December following the General Election.
- Second Regular Session: By 5:00 p.m. on or before the 25th day after the convening of the Legislature. The second regular session convenes on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January in the even-numbered year following the General Election. For 2011, the deadline was January 20, 2011.
Although petition sponsors have eighteen months from the time they are authorized to circulate, the above deadlines are their absolute deadline for a given election period. Also, signatures lose their validity if they are dated more than one year prior to the date the petition is officially filed with the Maine Secretary of State.
- See also: Petition drive deadlines, 2014
The filing deadline for a people's veto referendum petition is by 5 p.m. on the 90th day after adjournment of the legislative session at which the Act was passed.
- Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Maine
- Laws governing the initiative process in Maine
- States where signature requirements are based on votes cast for governor
- Election result resources
- Voter guides
- State Blue Books
- Current Deadlines for Citizen Initiatives, including signature requirements, from the Maine Secretary of State
- Maine signature requirements collated by the Citizens in Charge Foundation
- Citizen's Initiative and People's Veto from the Maine Secretary of State
- Maine 2012 Candidates Guide
- Maine Secretary of State, "Maine initiative signature requirement," accessed April 14, 2015
- Maine Secretary of State, "Signature requirement for veto referendums," accessed April 14, 2015
- Maine 2010 Official Election Results
- Maine Secretary of State, "2011 Initiative Deadlines"
- Maine Secretary of State, "2014 Initiative Deadline," accessed December 26, 2013
- Maine Secretary of State, "Citizen Initiative Application Packet"
State of Maine
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