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For Immediate Release
Secretary Gwadosky Announces Sufficient
Valid Signatures Filed
AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky ruled today that sufficient valid signatures have been filed by a petition group seeking 55% state funding of public education. The petition, the School Finance and Tax Reform Act of 2003, had been filed for certification with the Secretary of State's Office on January 17, 2003.
"Our complete and thorough review of the petition has determined that sufficient valid signatures have been filed by the petitioners," stated Secretary Gwadosky. "We will now refer the matter to the Maine Legislature, as required by the Constitution."
The direct initiative process is set forth in the Maine Constitution and allows citizens to propose bills for consideration by the Legislature through the petition process. Petitioners seeking to utilize this democratic process must collect signatures of Maine voters that represent 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Currently, this figure is 50,519. If the Legislature does not adopt the initiative as presented, then it will be automatically placed on the November 2003 ballot.
The following question will be put before the voters, unless the Legislature adopts the initiated legislation during its current legislative session:
Summary of Signatures Determined Valid/Invalid
A copy of the Determination of Validity for this petition is attached and provides a breakdown on the signatures that were deemed invalid.
This is one of three petitions filed with the Secretary of State's Office by the January 23, 2003 deadline for inclusion on the November 4, 2003 ballot. The Maine Tribal Gaming Act and An Act to Allow Slot Machines at Commercial Horse Racing Tracks are currently being reviewed by the Secretary of State's Office and determinations on these petitions are expected next week.
STATE OF MAINE
DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY
"School Finance and Tax Reform Act of 2003"
1. On January 17, 2003, petitions containing 100,599 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 on behalf of the initiated legislation entitled, "School Finance and Tax Reform Act of 2003."
2. Following a review of the petitions I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:
3. For the reasons set forth above, I find that 4,448 signatures are invalid. Petitioners have therefore submitted 96,151 valid signatures. The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 50,519. Because the number of valid signatures exceeds the required number by 45,632 signatures, I find the petition to be valid.
Dated: February 19, 2003