Maine legislators propose stricter rules for petition circulation

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February 5, 2010

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AUGUSTA, Maine: Two Maine legislators - Rep. Seth Berry and Sen. John Nutting - hope to pass stricter rules for petition circulation because the current system they said, creates an "incentive to lie and cheat." The proposed legislation came as a result of a recent discovery in Greene, Maine that petition signatures for Maine Tax Code People's Veto (2010), which is currently on the ballot, were invalid. At least on signature was of a deceased town resident. The attorney general is currently considering prosecuting the case.[1]

Rep. Berry's bill requires that the secretary of state make "electronic lists of certified signatures" from petitions. The proposed bill, Berry argues, will "strengthen the citizen initiative process by increasing transparency and accountability." Sen. Nutting's bill adds a fine for violating current state petition gathering laws. Additionally, Nutting's bill proposes prohibiting persons convicted of fraud from circulating petitions for up to 5 years. Both bills require that paid circulators and businesses that hire circulators register with the state.[2]

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