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Judge chooses sides in Maine petition fight

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December 29, 2009

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AUGUSTA, Maine: Maine Superior Court Judge Donald Marden chose to side with state Republicans that are challenging Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap due to his failure to meet a 30-day deadline to verify signatures relating to a people’s veto effort.

According to attorney Dan Billings, who is representing the Maine Republican party chairman Charlie Webster, who is leading the challenge: “The legal issue involved was concerning the Secretary of State's legal authority to continue to review and pass judgment on petitions after the 30-day deadline set by state law. And what Justice Marden said is that the statute limited the Secretary of State's authority to 30 days, and because the Maine constitution says any review of petitions has to be done in compliance with state law, after the 30 days passed the secretary of state no longer had any authority to review the petitions."[1]

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