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February 26 , 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Chip Gavin
(207) 626-8400

Proposed political party approved to collect signatures

AUGUSTA -- The Department of the Secretary of State has approved the circulation of petitions for an effort to establish a new political party in Maine to be called the Veterans Party.

“The law sets the rules for forming a political party and these voters have done what is necessary to start the process,” said Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky. “The earliest this proposed party could qualify for official status is 2006.”

The group has until December 15, 2005 , to submit at least 25,260 valid signatures to the Secretary of State in order to qualify to participate in the primary election on June 13, 2006 , and in the remaining 2006 election cycle as a qualified political party in Maine .

The number of signatures required in this process is equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election on November 5, 2002 . By law, the organizers must submit their signature petitions to municipal officials for certification before submitting them to the Secretary of State.

The signatures must be collected from registered voters who do not belong to any political party, or from voters who formally choose to enroll in the proposed Veterans Party. Voters who do not belong to any political party comprise approximately 37 percent of all registered Maine voters.

The Division of Elections formally approved and provided a signature petition to the organizers of the effort on February 20, 2004 . The Division also has alerted municipal clerks and registrars throughout the state that they may now accept enrollment applications from voters seeking to enroll in the proposed political party.

Once qualified, all political parties must meet certain requirements to remain a qualified political party. For example, a party's candidate for either Governor or President must receive at least 5 percent of the votes cast in those elections, the party must conduct biennial municipal caucuses in every county, and the party must hold a state convention during general election years.

The three political parties currently recognized under Maine law are the Democratic, the Green Independent, and the Republican parties.