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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2007
Contact: Don Cookson
207-626-8404

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Verifies Enough Signatures to Place Initiative to Allow a Tax Credit for College Loan Repayments Before the Maine Legislature

AUGUSTA, MAINE-- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Monday that enough valid signatures have been submitted to place “An Act to Allow a Tax Credit for College Loan Repayments” before Maine lawmakers during the First Regular Session of the 123rd Legislature. If the Legislature fails to approve the measure, it will send it out to the voters either in a special election or as a ballot question on the November 6, 2007 Referendum Election ballot.

The number of valid signatures required for this action was 55,087 (10% of the votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election of 2006). Secretary of State Dunlap announced that 63,285 signatures have been accepted, while 10,106 were rejected.

The question reads: “Do you want to allow a tax credit for college loan repayments to any taxpayer who earns a future college degree in Maine and continues to live and work in Maine?”

“This determination follows careful review of petitions containing nearly 74,000 signatures,” said Dunlap. “The staff of Maine’s Elections Division, as well as officials on the local level, deserve much credit for their thoroughness and diligence in their review of the petitions. The verification and certification process is laborious and precise work, with the right of a citizen to legitimately petition their government hanging in the balance,” Dunlap commented. “The policy will now be debated by the Legislature and the public,” Dunlap said.

As a result of today’s decision, the legislation will be transmitted to the Legislature for consideration. A five day period of challenges to this ruling is also underway. Article IV, Part Third, Sections 18, 19, 20, and 22 of the Maine Constitution and Title 21-A, Chapter 11 address the procedures relative to initiative legislation. Additional information about the Citizen Initiative process is available online at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/initpak.htm.

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STATE OF MAINE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

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

“An Act to Allow a Tax Credit for College Loan Repayments”

  1. On January 25, 2007, petitions containing 73,391 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 to Allow a Tax Credit for College Loan Repayments”.
  2. Following a review of the petitions, I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:
  A. 6,819 signatures are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality.
  B. 1,931 signatures are invalid because they are duplicates of signatures already counted.
  C. 333 signatures are invalid because the voter’s signature was withdrawn from the petition.
  D. 290 signatures are invalid because the circulators collected signatures prior to becoming registered to vote in the State of Maine.
  E. 182 signatures are invalid because the circulator’s oath was not complete.  
  F.

135 signatures are invalid because the petition was submitted to the municipal registrar for determination of whether the petitioners were qualified voters after the deadline set by the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 20.

  G. 120 signatures are invalid because of material alterations to the petition.
  H. 83 signatures are invalid because the voter failed to provide a signature.
  I. 74 signatures are invalid because the petition was not on the approved form.
  J. 72 signatures are invalid because the voter dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator’s oath before the notary.
  K. 40 signatures are invalid because the residency status of 3 circulators could not be confirmed.   (8 signatures found invalid for other reasons are also invalid for this reason.)
  L. 16 signatures are invalid because the certification of the registrar was not completed.
  M. 11 signatures are invalid because the voter’s signature was made by another.

 

  1. For the reasons set forth above, I find that 10,106 signatures are invalid. Petitioners have therefore submitted 63,285 valid signatures. The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 55,087. As petitioners have submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures, I find the petition to be valid.

Dated:   February 26, 2007

 

_______________________________
Julie L. Flynn
Deputy Secretary of State