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March 2 , 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Chip Gavin
(207) 626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky says bear petition can proceed

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky determined today that a citizen initiative on bear hunting practices has enough valid signatures to advance in the citizen initiative process.

“The petition has enough valid signatures to move forward,” said Secretary Gwadosky. “Voters will see the question on the ballot in November, unless the Legislature takes some other action on the proposal.”

As with all citizen initiatives, the Legislature could order a vote on the proposal sooner than November or the measure could be passed into law without going to a statewide vote. Otherwise, the initiative will be scheduled for the statewide ballot on November 2, 2004 .

Unless the Legislature adopts the initiated legislation, the following question will be put before Maine voters: "Do you want to make it a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs, except to protect property, public safety or for research?"

The full text of the legislation for An Act Prohibiting Certain Bear Hunting Practices is available by clicking on the “Citizen Initiative” link at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/ . Information for contacting the citizen initiators also is available at that site.

Under a formula established in the Maine Constitution, 50,519 valid signatures were required for the proposal to advance. Secretary Gwadosky certified that 97,622 valid signatures were submitted, or 47,103 signatures more than required. Secretary Gwadosky formally notified the petition organizers of the decision today.

A detailed determination is attached which lists the various categories and the numbers of valid and invalid signatures for this petition. The summary of the signature determination is:

Initially submitted signatures
102,785
Excluded by local officials or by the Secretary of State
5,163
Total valid signatures
97,622
(Total needed to advance: 50,519  

“This wraps up the citizen initiative review process for the current election cycle,” said Secretary Gwadosky. “It's a challenge whenever tens of thousands of signatures need to be reviewed. Election officials at both the local and state level did another great service for democracy in getting the job done well and on time.”

 

STATE OF MAINE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY
OF A PETITION FOR INITIATED LEGISLATION ENTITLED:

  “An Act Prohibiting Certain Bear Hunting Practices”

1.  On January 28, 2004 , petitions containing 102,785 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, “An Act Prohibiting Certain Bear Hunting Practices”.

2.  Following a review of the petitions I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:

A. 2,449 signatures are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality.
B. 1,015 signatures are invalid because they are duplicates of signatures already counted.
C. 1,006 signatures are invalid because the circulator's oath was not complete.
D. 275 signatures are invalid because the circulator's status as a resident of the State of Maine could not be confirmed.
E. 191 signatures are invalid because the petitioner dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator's oath before the notary.
F. 101 signatures are invalid because the petitioner failed to provide a signature.
G. 50 signatures are invalid because the notary was related to the circulator.
H. 33 signatures are invalid because the registered voter's signature was made by another.
I. 21 signatures are invalid because the certification of the registrar was not completed.
J. 12 signatures are invalid because of material alterations to the petition.
K. 10 signatures are invalid because the circulators collected signatures prior to becoming registered to vote in the State of Maine .

3. For the reasons set forth above, I find that 5,163 signatures are invalid. Petitioners have therefore submitted 97,622 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 47,103 signatures, I find the petition to be valid.

Dated: March 2, 2004