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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Maine

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Ballot Access Requirements for Candidates
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U.S. House requirements for Independents in 2014
This page compiles the various ballot access requirements for candidates running for elected office in the state of Maine. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Maine. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: Maine elections, 2014

Maine will have a primary election on June 10, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for candidates seeking a political party's nomination by running in the state primary is March 17, 2014. The filing deadline for independent candidates is June 1, 2014.[1]

Deadline Event
December 12, 2013 Deadline for submitting paperwork to create a new political party
March 17, 2014 Filing deadline for candidates seeking nomination by a political party
June 1, 2014 Filing deadline for independent candidates
June 10, 2014 State primary date
November 4, 2014 General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, there are three recognized political parties in Maine.[2] To participate in primary elections, a candidate must be enrolled in the party whose nomination he or she is seeking.[3] Candidates seeking nomination by petition for the general election may select a political designation apart from those recognized by the state (the designation may not exceed three words in length, may not incorporate the candidate's name or a designation or abbreviation of a recognized party, and may not include obscene, contemptuous, profane, prejudicial or abusive language).[4]

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Democratic Party Official party website Party by-laws
Republican Party Official party website Party by-laws
Green Independent Party Official party website Party by-laws

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Article 1 of the Maine Revised Statutes

Party formation

Political parties in Maine may obtain obtain official recognition in one of two ways.

1.) Organization around a candidate

A voter or group of voters not enrolled in a qualified political party may file a declaration of intent to form a new political party. The form of the declaration is prescribed by the Secretary of State and must include the following information:[5]
  • The designation of the proposed party
  • The name of a candidate for Governor or President in the most recent general election who was nominated by petition and who received at least five percent of the total vote cast for the office in that election
  • The signed consent of the aforementioned candidate
  • The name, address, telephone number (if published) and signature of the voter or one of the group of voters who files the declaration
The declaration of intent must be filed with the Secretary of State before 5:00 p.m. on the 180th day preceding the next primary election. After filing the declaration, the voter or group of voters may enroll voters in the proposed party.[5]

2.) Organization by party enrollment

A group of 10 or more voters who are not enrolled in a qualified political party may file a declaration of intent to form a party with the Secretary of State between December 1 and December 30 of an even-numbered year. The form of the declaration is prescribed by the Secretary of State and must include the following information:[6]
  • The designation of the proposed party
  • The names, addresses, telephone number (if published) and signatures of the voters who file the declaration
Within five business days of receipt, the Secretary of State will certify whether the declaration is sufficient and notify the applicants that they may begin enrolling voters in the proposed party. By December 1 of the odd-numbered year following the filing of the declaration of intent, the applicants must file a certification with the Secretary of State indicating that at least 5,000 voters have enrolled in the proposed party. The Secretary of State will verify these enrollment figures within five business days of receiving the party's certification and notify the applicants whether the proposed party may participate in a primary election in the next even-numbered year.[6]

Procedural requirements

A newly qualified political party must conduct municipal caucuses in at least one municipality in each of the state's 16 counties during the election year.[5][6] Municipal caucuses are held every two years to elect delegates to the state convention and to tend to any other party business.[7] The chair of the municipal committee (if one has been formed) or a resident voter enrolled in the party must file a copy of the caucus notice with the Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. on March 20.[5][6] The caucus notice must be published in a newspaper "having general circulation in the municipality" at least three and no more than seven days before the caucus. The caucus notice may also be posted in a "conspicuous, public place in each voting district in the municipality" at least seven days prior to the caucus. The notice must contain the name of the party, the time and place of the caucus, and the name of the person calling it.[7]

A newly qualified party must also hold a state convention. The voter or group of voters who filed the declaration of intent may perform the convention duties normally performed by a party's state committee during the new party's first state convention. The following must be done at the state convention:[8]

  • Elect a secretary and a chair of the convention, in that order
  • Adopt a platform for the next general election
  • Nominate the number of presidential electors to which Maine is entitled
  • Determine the size of the state, district and county committees and methods of election
  • Elect a district committee for each congressional district
  • Elect a county committee for each county from individuals nominated at municipal caucuses held in the county (unless party rules provide for county committee members to be elected directly by their municipalities)

Maintaining party status

To maintain qualified status, a political party's designation must have been listed on the ballot in either of the two preceding general elections. Further, the party must also meet all of the following requirements:[9]

  • The party must have held municipal caucuses in at least one municipality in a minimum of 14 counties during the election year in which the designation appeared on the ballot and any interim election year and must do the same during the year of the primary election.
  • The party must have held a state convention during the election year in which the designation appeared on the ballot and any interim election year.
  • At least 10,000 voters enrolled in the party must have voted in the last general election.

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is the first page of the candidate registration form for the 2014 elections in Maine.

For party candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 1, Article 4 of the Maine Revised Statutes

Party candidates must petition for access to the primary ballot. Signature requirements vary according to the office sought.[10][11]

Office Required signatures
Governor, U.S. Senator At least 2,000 signatures, but no more than 3,000
U.S. Representative At least 1,000 signatures, but no more than 1,500
State Senator At least 100 signatures, but no more than 150
State Representative At least 25 signatures, but no more than 40

Before petitions can be submitted to the Secretary of State, signatures must be verified by the registrar of voters or municipal clerk in the municipality where the signatures were collected.[10][11] For more information regarding specific petition requirements, see "Petition requirements" below.

Party candidates must also submit a "Consent of Candidate" form. The form must contain a statement signed by the candidate indicating that he or she will accept the nomination of the primary election. The form must also include the candidate's address, party designation, and a statement indicating that the candidate meets the qualifications of the office being sought. The candidate must sign the form before a notary public. The "Consent of Candidate" form must be filed along with the candidate's petition paperwork.[12][11]

The filing deadline is set by statute as 5:00 p.m. on March 15 of the election year. If March 15 falls on a non-business day, the deadline is extended to the next business day.[10]

For independent candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 2 of the Maine Revised Statutes

Independent candidates must petition for access to the general election ballot. Signature requirements vary according to the office sought.[13]

Office Required signatures
Governor, U.S. Senator At least 4,000 signatures, but no more than 6,000
U.S. Representative At least 2,000 signatures, but no more than 3,000
State Senator At least 200 signatures, but no more than 300
State Representative At least 50 signatures, but no more than 80

Before petitions can be submitted to the Secretary of State, signatures must be verified by the registrar of voters or municipal clerk in the municipality where the signatures were collected.[13][11] Petitions for independent candidates must be submitted for verification by 5:00 p.m. on May 25 (this date is set by statute; in the event that May 25 falls on a non-business days, the deadline is extended to the next business day).[13] For more information regarding specific petition requirements, see "Petition requirements" below.

Independent candidates must also file a "Non-party Candidate's Consent" form. The form must contain a statement signed by the candidate indicating that he or she will accept the nomination of the general election. The form must include the candidate's address, a declaration that the candidate has not been enrolled in a qualified political party after March 1 of the election year, and a statement indicating that the candidate meets the qualifications of the office being sought. The candidate must sign the form before a notary public. The "Non-party Candidate's Consent" form must be filed along with the candidate's petition paperwork.[14][11]

The filing deadline is set by statute as 5:00 p.m. on June 1 of the election year. If June 1 falls on a non-business day, the deadline is extended to the next business day.[13]

For write-in candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Chapter 9, Subchapter 3, Article 1 of the Maine Revised Statutes

In order to have his or her votes tallied, a write-in candidate for either the primary or general election must file a declaration of write-in candidacy with the Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. on the 45th day prior to the election.[15]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Chapter 13 of the Maine Revised Statutes

A candidate is recognized as such when he or she begins raising or spending money for campaign purposes, files nomination papers, or is nominated by a party committee to fill a vacancy. Before accepting contributions, making expenditures, or incurring financial obligations, a candidate must appoint a campaign treasurer. The treasurer is responsible for keeping detailed financial records and completing and submitting campaign finance reports.[16] A candidate may legally serve as his or her own treasurer.[17][18][19]

Within 10 days of appointing a treasurer, candidates must file a "Candidate Registration" form with the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. If a candidate elects to form a campaign committee, he or she must identify it on the "Candidate Registration" form.[17]

All candidates are required by law to keep a separate bank account for campaign purposes. Candidates must deposit all contributions into this account.[18][19]

Candidates for statewide and state legislative office are required to file regular campaign finance reports, which include the following types of information (broken down by report section):[18][19]

  • Cover page
    • Contact information for the candidate and treasurer must be noted; the cover page must also include a financial summary for the campaign for the reporting period and year-to-date campaign totals.
  • Schedule A: Cash contributions
    • Cash contributions received during the reporting period must be reported; contributions from any contributor who has given more than $50 during the reporting period must be itemized by providing the contributor's name, address, occupation and employer, as well as the date and amount of the contribution.
  • Schedule A-1: In-kind contributions
    • In-kind contributions (i.e., goods and services) the candidate received during the reporting period must be noted, including a description of the goods and services and a statement of their fair market value. It should be noted that some goods and services do not necessarily constitute in-kind contributions.
  • Schedule B: Expenditures
    • Expenditures the candidate made during the reporting period, including date, amount, payee, and type of expenditure, must be reported.
  • Schedule C: Loans and loan repayments
    • Information regarding loans received, loans forgiven and payments made must be noted.
  • Schedule D: Unpaid debts and obligations
    • All unpaid debts and other obligations that are unpaid as of the close of the reporting period must be reported.

Candidates must file reports electronically if they have receipts of greater than $1,500 or file a waiver to be exempted from the requirement. Once a candidate has registered as described above, he or she will be sent information about accessing the electronic filing system.[19][18]

Reporting schedules vary according to the office sought.

Campaign finance report dates for 2014 election season - gubernatorial candidates[18]
Report type Reporting period Deadline to file
2013 July Semiannual** Beginning of campaign - June 30, 2013 July 15, 2013
2014 January Semiannual** If filing first report: beginning of campaign - December 31, 2013
If filed 2013 July Semiannual: July 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013
January 15, 2014
42-day Pre-primary If semiannual report(s) filed: January 1, 2014 - April 22, 2014
If semiannual report(s) not filed: beginning of campaign - April 22, 2014
April 29, 2014
11-day Pre-primary April 23, 2014 - May 27, 2014 May 30, 2014
42-day Post-primary May 28, 2014 - July 15, 2014 July 22, 2014
42-day Pre-general July 16, 2014 - September 16, 2014 September 23, 2014
11-day Pre-general September 17, 2014 - October 21, 2014 October 24, 2014
42-day Post-general October 22, 2014 - December 9, 2014 December 16, 2014
**Required for candidates who raise or spend more than $1,000 in 2013.
Campaign finance report dates for 2014 election season - state legislative candidates[19]
Report type Reporting period Deadline to file
2014 January Semiannual** Beginning of campaign - December 31, 2014 January 15, 2014
11-day Pre-primary April 23, 2014 - May 27, 2014 May 30, 2014
42-day Post-primary May 28, 2014 - July 15, 2014 July 22, 2014
42-day Pre-general July 16, 2014 - September 16, 2014 September 23, 2014
11-day Pre-general September 17, 2014 - October 21, 2014 October 24, 2014
42-day Post-general October 22, 2014 - December 9, 2014 December 16, 2014
**Required only for candidates who raised or spent more than $500 in 2013.

Special reports must be filed within 24 hours when a candidate either receives a single contribution of $1,000 or more or makes an expenditure or incurs an unpaid obligation of $1,000 or more in the 13-day period leading up to an election.[18][19]

Contribution limits

An individual cannot contribute more than $1,500 in aggregate in any election to any gubernatorial candidate. An individual cannot contribute more than $350 in aggregate in any election to any state legislative candidate.[20][21]

Maine Clean Elections Act

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 21-A, Chapter 14 of the Maine Revised Statutes

The Maine Clean Election Act establishes a voluntary program for public financing of political campaigns for gubernatorial and state legislative candidates. Candidates who wish to accept public funds for their campaigns must file a declaration to that effect with the Commission. In order to qualify for public financing, candidates must collect a set number of "qualifying contributions" (i.e., contributions of $5 or more) from registered voters during the qualifying period. The qualifying period runs from January 1 through April 20 of the election year for legislative candidates and October 15 of the year preceding the election through April 1 for gubernatorial candidates. Qualifying contributions are made to the Maine Clean Election Fund.[22][23]

Qualifying contributions[23]
Office Minimum number of qualifying contributions
Governor 3,250
State Senator 175
Maine House of Representatives 60

Candidates may collect "seed money contributions" to fund their campaigns prior to qualifying for public financing. Donations are capped at $100 per individual. The total amount of seed money contributions a candidate may accept varies according to the office sought.[22]

Seed money contributions[24]
Office Maximum total amount
Governor $200,000
State Senator $1,500
Maine House of Representatives $500

Once candidates have collected the required qualifying contributions, they may submit their requests for public financing. If the Commission approves the request, the candidate receives an initial payment of public funds and is prohibited from accepting or spending private contributions (including a candidate's personal funds). After the election, any unused funds must be returned to the Commission.[22]

Publicly financed candidates and campaigns are held to the same general reporting requirements as traditionally financed candidates, though some additional reports are required, as detailed below.

2014 reports for MCEA legislative candidates**[22]
Report Reporting period Deadline
2014 January semiannual*** Beginning of campaign - December 31, 2013 January 15, 2014
Seed money***
(for filers of 2014 January semiannual)
January 1, 2014 - April 22, 2014
(or earlier if request for certification is made)
April 22, 2014
Seed money Beginning of campaign - April 22, 2014
(or earlier if request for certification is made)
April 22, 2014
**Dates for gubernatorial candidates were not available as of February 2014.
***Required only for MCEA state senate candidates who have raised and/or spent more than $500 in calendar year 2013.

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • Maine Secretary of State[25]
Why: To obtain and file nominating petitions
Secretary of State
111 Sewall St
Augusta, ME. 04333-0101
Phone: 207-624-7736
Fax: 207-287-5428
Website: http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/index.html
E-mail:julie.flynn@maine.gov
  • Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices [26]
Why: To file candidate registration forms and campaign finance reports
45 Memorial Circle. August, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-4179
Fax: (207) 287-6775
Website: www.maine.gov/ethics
E-mail: ethics@maine.gov

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in Maine are as follows:

  • The Governor is limited to two successive terms. There is not, however, a limit on the number of total terms a governor may serve.
  • The Secretary of State is elected to four-year terms, concurrent with the other constitutional officers of Maine, and is restricted by term limits to only two terms.
  • The Attorney General is limited to four two-year terms.
  • The Treasurer The treasurer is limited to four two-year terms.
  • The Auditor is limited to four two-year terms.

There are no state executive offices term-limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

A politician can serve in the Maine State Legislature for four terms (eight years) in each of the two chambers, the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representatives. This is a consecutive, rather than lifetime, limit.[27]

Term limits were imposed as a result of a 1993 ballot initiative.

2014

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2014 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2014

There are 19 state legislators who will be termed out in 2014. Eighteen are state representatives, including 11 Democrats and seven Republicans. One is a state senator.

Name Party Chamber District
Alan Casavant Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 137
Andrea Boland Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 142
Ann Peoples Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 128
Bryan Kaenrath Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 124
Charles Priest Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 63
Charles Theriault Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 2
Paulette Beaudoin Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 135
Seth Berry Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 67
Sharon Treat Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 79
Teresea Hayes Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 94
W. Bruce MacDonald Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 61
Jeffery Gifford Ends.png Republican State House District 12
H. David Cotta Ends.png Republican State House District 55
Bernard Ayotte Ends.png Republican State House District 3
Michael Beaulieu Ends.png Republican State House District 68
Kathleen Chase Ends.png Republican State House District 147
L. Gary Knight Ends.png Republican State House District 81
Windol Weaver Ends.png Republican State House District 150
Roger Sherman Ends.png Republican State Senate District 34

2012

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2012

Twenty-six state representatives, or 17 percent, were termed out in 2012. Of these 26, 14 were Democratic and 12 were Republican. Ten state senators, or 28.6 percent of the total senate seats, were termed out. Of them, five were Democratic state senators and five were Republican state senators.

2010

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2010 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2010

There were 20 representatives termed out in 2010--nine Democrats, 10 Republicans and one independent. Four senators were termed out--two Democrats and two Republicans.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from Maine and List of United States Senators from Maine

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Maine:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Maine
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 2 2
     Republican Party 1 0 1
     Independents 1 0 1
Vacancies 0 0 0
TOTALS as of April 2014 1 2 3

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Maine:

Senate

Party As of April 2014
     Democratic Party 19
     Republican Party 15
     Independent 1
Total 35

House

Party As of April 2014
     Democratic Party 89
     Republican Party 58
     Independent 4
     Non-voting 3
Total 154

See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. FEC "2014 Congressional Primary Election Dates," Accessed December 2, 2013
  2. Secretary of State Website "State of Maine Voter Guide, Party Affiliation Guidelines," accessed November 12, 2013
  3. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 1, Article 4," accessed December 4, 2013
  4. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 2," accessed December 4, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 1, Section 302," accessed February 10, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 1, Section 303," accessed February 10, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 2, Section 311," accessed February 10, 2014
  8. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 3, Section 321," accessed February 10, 2014
  9. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 1, Section 301," accessed February 10, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Article 4, Section 335," accessed February 10, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 10, 2014
  12. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 1, Article 4, Section 336," accessed February 10, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 2, Section 354," accessed February 10, 2014
  14. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 5, Subchapter 2, Section 355," accessed February 10, 2014
  15. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 9, Subchapter 3, Article 1, Section 722-A," accessed February 10, 2014
  16. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 13, Subchapter 2, Section 1016," accessed February 10, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 13, Subchapter 2, Section 1013," accessed February 10, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices "2014 Gubernatorial Candidate's Guide," accessed February 10, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices "2014 Candidate's Guide for Traditionally Financed Legislative and County Candidates," accessed February 10, 2014
  20. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 13, Subchapter 2, Section 1015," accessed February 10, 2014
  21. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Limits on Contributions to Candidates," updated October 2013
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices "2014 Candidate's Guide - Maine Clean Elections Act Candidates," accessed February 10, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 14, Section 1122," accessed February 10, 2014
  24. Maine Revised Statutes "Title 21-A, Chapter 14, Section 1125," accessed February 10, 2014
  25. Maine Secretary of State: Elections & Voting
  26. Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices
  27. The Council of State Governments, "State Legislative Branch," accessed October 28, 2013