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at 5 p.m. is Deadline to File Citizen Initiative Petitions
Augusta--Thursday, January 23, 2003 is the final day for filing citizen initiative petitions with the Office of the Secretary of State for inclusion on the November 4, 2003 ballot. The state Constitution prescribes that petitions be "filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the hour of 5:00 p.m., . . .on or before the 50th day after the date of convening of the Legislature in first regular session." (Article IV, Part Third, section 18) The Legislature convened on December 4, 2002.
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 an initiative as presented, then it is automatically placed on the next November ballot, in this case November 4, 2003.
One citizen initiative petition, "School Finance and Tax Reform Act of 2003", was filed with the Secretary of State on January 17, 2003, and is currently being reviewed.
For more information about the citizen initiative process and a list of the initiatives currently in circulation please visit www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/.