Difference between revisions of "Laws governing the initiative process in Maine"

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:: ''See also: [[Pay-per-signature]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Pay-per-signature]]''
  
Maine does not ban [[pay-per-signature]]. It used to have such a ban, but this rule was struck down in 1999 by a federal court in ''[[On Our Terms '97 PAC v. Secretary of State of Maine]].''<ref>[http://www.citizensinchargec4.com/learn/threats-and-restrictions/pay-per-signature-bans-0 ''Citizens in Charge,'' "Pay-Per-Signature Bans," Accessed July 29, 2011]</ref>
+
Maine does not ban [[pay-per-signature]]. It used to have such a ban, but this rule was struck down in 1999 by a federal court in ''[[On Our Terms '97 PAC v. Secretary of State of Maine]].''<ref>[http://www.citizensinchargec4.com/learn/threats-and-restrictions/pay-per-signature-bans-0 ''Citizens in Charge,'' "Pay-Per-Signature Bans," accessed July 29, 2011]</ref>
  
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot Measure Law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/21-A/title21-Ach11sec0.html Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11]''</span>
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot Measure Law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/21-A/title21-Ach11sec0.html Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11]''</span>

Revision as of 07:54, 17 April 2014

[edit]

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Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Fiscal review
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Effective date
1.5.3 Litigation
1.5.4 Legislative tampering
1.5.5 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State initiative law
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Maine may initiate legislation through the process of indirect initiative. In Maine, successful petitions are first presented to the Maine State Legislature. If the measure is not adopted without change, the law is placed before voters. The legislature may submit "any amended form, substitute, or recommendation" to the people along side the bill--this alternative is treated as a competing measure. In Maine, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. Maine residents may not amend their constitution via initiative or directly initiate legislation. The Maine State Legislature may also place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or legislatively-referred state statutes.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the allowable scope and content of initiated proposals. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

Maine does not employ a single-subject rule.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Sections 17-22 & Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Maine does not restrict the subject matter of initiated measures. However, if there are insufficient state funds available for a measure and the initiated measure does not specify a sufficient funding source, the measure's effective date is delayed to allow the legislature to appropriate funds. Such measures take effect 45 days after the start of the next legislative session.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 19

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of Maine ballot measures

Maine law provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the ballot will be organized so that voters may select one or neither of the measures. If no measure receives a majority of the vote, then the measure that receives the most votes will be placed on the next statewide ballot within 60 days. The legislature may call a special election for this purpose. However, if neither measure receives more than one-third of the vote (for each measure and against both) then both measure are considered defeated.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 18

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

Prior to circulation, petitioners must file an application with the Secretary of State along with the signatures of five voters. These voters will receive notices regarding the progress of the initiative. Along with the application, sponsors must include the full text of the law and a summary explaining the purpose of the initiative. An application form can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §901

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

After an application is submitted, the Secretary of State must review the proposed law to ensure that it conforms to the Secretary's formal requirements and the drafting conventions for statutes. If the Secretary finds that a proposed statute does meet these conditions, he or she will suggest revisions to the bill. Sponsors may edit the petition and reapply. No changes can be made to the text of the measure without the consent of proponents. Once the Secretary has approved the text of the measure, he or she determines the form of the petition and provides it to the sponsors. Petitioners are responsible for printing copies for circulation.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §901

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The Office of Fiscal and Program Review prepares a fiscal impact statement for each ballot measure. The statement must summarize the impact of the measure on state funds (General Fund, Highway Fund, etc...). In addition, it must summarize the amount transferred from state to local governments. Each signature sheet must contain this summary.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 11, §353 & Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §901-A

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Maine signature requirements

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% of the total votes cast for governor (excluding blanks) in the most recent election (2010) as established in Article 4, Part Third, Section 18, sub-section 2 of the Maine Constitution.[4][5]

Year Initiated statute Veto referendum
2014 57,277 57,277
2013 57,277 57,277
2012 57,277 57,277
2011 57,277 57,277
2010 55,087 55,087
2008 55,087 55,087

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 18

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

Maine does not have a distribution requirement. As such, any proportion of the required signatures may be collected from any county or political district.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Sections 17-22 & Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11

Restrictions on circulators

Circulator requirements

See also: Petition circulator

In Maine, there are no statutes that prevent a circulator from signing the petition being circulated. Each initiative petition contains a mandatory circulator affidavit. The circulator is required to sign these affidavits before a public notary. He/she must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition.[6] According to Maine Statutes and Codes 21-A §903-A, those circulating petitions are required:[7]

  • to be a registered voter

Once circulation is completed, the signatures must be submitted to a registrar or clerk.[6]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Statutes and Codes, Title 21-A, §354 & Maine Statutes and Codes, Title 21-A, §903-A

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Maine does not ban pay-per-signature. It used to have such a ban, but this rule was struck down in 1999 by a federal court in On Our Terms '97 PAC v. Secretary of State of Maine.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Maine requires that petition circulators are registered to vote in Maine, indirectly requiring them to be residents of the state. Similar laws in other states have been overturned, but the US Supreme Court has yet to rule on the matter.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, §903-A

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Maine does not require paid and volunteer circulators be identified as such on badges or petitions.[9]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, §903-A

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Maine law does mandate that signatures be collected in the presence of the circulator and that signers "personally" place their name on the petition.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 20 & Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §902 & Chapter 5, §354

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In Maine, signatures are valid for one year after the date they were signed. However, signatures may be collected up to 18 months after the petition form is furnished by the Secretary of State. Signatures must be filed with the Secretary by the 50th day of the first regular legislative session or the 25th day of the second regular session.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 18

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

In Maine, each petition signature is certified by the local registrar of voters. The signatures are then submitted to the Secretary of State.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §902 & Chapter 5, §354

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

On the Maine ballot, each measure features a generic name (Question 1, Question 2...) and a ballot question written by the Secretary of State. Ballot questions ought to be "simple, clear, concise and direct."

  • A sample of a past ballot can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §902, Chapter 11, §906, & Chapter 5, §354

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

Maine initiatives do not require a supermajority for approval. This also applies to legislatively-referred constitutional amendments.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article X, Section 4

Effective date

Measures take effect 30 days after the Governor has proclaimed the results of the election. However, if there are insufficient state funds available for a measure and the initiated measure does not specify a sufficient funding source, the measure's effective date is delayed to allow the legislature to appropriate funds. Such measures take effect 45 days after start of the next legislative session.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Section 19

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

Petition sponsors may challenge any decision made by the Secretary of State during the application and review process. If the Secretary has determined that the number of signatures is insufficient, any sponsor or valid petition signer may challenge decision. If it is deemed sufficient, any other voter may challenge the decision. In each case, the challenge is filed in Superior Court with appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11, §901 & §905

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

Maine does not limit how soon, or with what majority, the legislature can repeal a measure.[10]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Sections 17-22 & Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11

Re-attempting an initiative

Maine does not limit how soon an initiative can be re-attempted.[11]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3, Sections 17-22 & Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, Chapter 11

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Maine ballot measures

Some of the notable features of Maine's campaign finance laws include:

  • Maine treats committees in support or opposition of a ballot question the same as other political committees.
  • Maine requires individuals who raise or spend $5,000 in support or opposition of a ballot measure to register as a committee.
  • Maine requires all contributions of $500 or more in the last thirteen days before the election to be reported within 24 hours.
  • Maine requires full disclosure of paid campaign staffers.

State initiative law

Article IV of the Maine Constitution provides authority for the initiative and referendum process.

Title 21-A, Chapter 11 of the Maine Revised Statutes governs the initiative and referendum process.

External links

References



Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2012
2.1.2 2011
2.1.3 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Maine.

Proposed changes by year

2012

See also: Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures


2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Maine State Legislature:

Defeatedd Maine Legislative Document 97: Excerpt of bill description/summary: "This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to provide that the Legislature may not make a change to a measure initiated and approved by vote of the people for 8 years after that measure takes effect if that change is contrary to the general intent of that measure."

Approveda Maine Legislative Document 1000 (2011): Excerpt of bill description/summary: "The bill...creates a resolve directing the Secretary of State to examine the feasibility of centralizing the process for verifying signatures on candidate petitions, citizens' initiatives and people's veto referendum petitions."

Approveda Maine Legislative Document 1528 (2011): LD 1528 makes a number of changes to state election law. With respect to ballot measures, the bill would clarify "the requirements for the information that is created to help voters understand ballot questions, including the Attorney General's explanatory statement of what a 'yes' vote favors and what a 'no' vote opposes; the Office of Fiscal and Program Review's estimate of the fiscal impact on state revenues, appropriations and allocations of each ballot measure; and the Treasurer's Statement that accompanies each bond issue."[1]


2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Maine Legislature:

Approveda Maine Legislative Document 1730 (2010): LD 1730 requires petition forms to include a unique number identifying the petition circulator and requires petitions to be signed, notarized, and copied. In addition, the law requires that paid petition organizers must register with the state. The law also allows the state 100 days to make a final decision certifying or rejecting a petition, bringing state law in line with the Maine Constitution. Also, the law allows 10 days (instead of five) to challenge a decision and 40 days (instead of 45) for the Maine Supreme Court to rule on the challenge. In addition, the law also forbids de novo trials for petition challenges, bringing the law in line with a 1998 State Supreme Court ruling.[1][2]

The bill was approved by the Maine House of Representatives on March 29, 2010 by a vote of 119 to 23. The Maine Senate later approved the bill on March 31, 2010 by a 20-15 vote. The Governor signed the bill into law on April 6, 2010[3].

Approveda Maine Legislative Document 1667 (2010): LD 1667 will resolve an inconsistency in Maine Law concerning the amount of time that the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review is given to prepare a fiscal impact statement for proposed initiatives. The bill also requires that fiscal impact statements for ballot initiative and sample ballots must be posted outside voting locations. In addition, the bill clarifies the qualifications that must be met by the registrar of voters and the positions a registrar may not seek or hold. The law also allows a warden, ward clerk and deputy wardens be registered voters of the county, rather than the municipality, in which they serve. This exception only applies when there is a vacancy in one of these positions and only last for the duration of the election. The bill also allows the public to inspect absentee ballot applications and envelopes prior to processing.[4][2]

The bill was approved by the Maine House of Representatives on March 16, 2010 by acclimation. The Maine Senate on March 17, 2010, approved the bill by acclimation. The Governor signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010[5].

Approveda Maine Legislative Document 1668 (2010): LD 1668 was enacted. LD 1668 eliminates a previous requirement that the Maine Secretary of State must publish information about ballot questions in daily newspapers in the state.[2]

The bill was approved by the Maine House of Representatives on January 14, 2010, by a vote of 107 to 35. The Maine Senate approved the bill on the same day by a voice vote. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on January 21, 2010[6].

Defeatedd LD 1345. LD 1345, which had been carried over from 2009, failed. LD 1345 would have amended the Maine Constitution to increase the number of signatures that a petitioner must gather for a people's veto or a direct initiative from not less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election to not less than 20% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election. It also would have limited the state's initiatives to one subject.

The bill died in committee without seeing a floor vote in either house of the Legislature[7].

Defeatedd LD 1690. LD 1690 failed. It would have:

  • Required the Secretary of State to make electronic lists of certified signatures from petitions for direct initiatives of legislation and people's veto referenda beginning December 2010.
  • Extended the time period that a person has to examine petitions when challenging the decision of the Secretary of State from 5 to 10 days.
  • Authorized the Secretary of State to reject certification of signatures on a petition for a direct initiative of legislation or a people's veto if the person who signed the petition submitted a written request to the direct initiative or people's veto applicant 15 days prior to the date when the petitions are due to the municipal clerk for verification.
  • Required registration of organizations that receive compensation to collect or support the collection of signatures on petitions for a direct initiative of legislation or people's veto referendum.

The bill died in committee without seeing a floor vote in either house of the Legislature[8].

Defeatedd LD 1692. LD 1692 failed. It would have:

  • Amended the Maine Constitution to require that the ballot text of an initiative identify the amount and source of any revenue that would be required to implement the initiative, if the initiative is approved by voters.
  • Identify, if applicable, any current programs whose funding would have to be reduced or eliminated if the initiative was approved.
  • Directed the Office of Fiscal and Program Review to provide "reasonable assistance" to initiative sponsors in identifying revenue that will be required if the initiative is enacted.

The bill was defeated by the Maine House of Representatives on March 29, 2010, by a vote of 94 to 43[9].