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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 Expand Affordable Health Insurance Choices in Maine ”
1. On November 3 and 6, 2008, petitions containing 63,690 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 Expand Affordable Health Insurance Choices in Maine”.
2. All of the signatures submitted appear on a form of the petition that was not the petition form “furnished or approved by the Secretary of State” pursuant to the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 20, and 21-A M.R.S.A. § 901. Specifically, the form used by petitioners presents the 6 pages of text of the initiated legislation in the following erroneous sequence: pages 1, 4, 3, 5, 6 and 2.1 No page numbers are printed on the petition form, leaving no indicator to guide the reader through the “full text of the measure” as proposed and in the form that was “furnished or approved” by the Secretary of State. Accordingly, the petitions submitted do not meet the constitutional requirements set forth in Article IV, Part Third, Section 20.2 In addition, the statutory procedures for determining the validity of petitions direct the Secretary or his designee to “determine the form of the petition to be submitted to the voters” and specify that the applicant “must print the petitions in the form approved by the Secretary of State.” 21-A M.R.S.A. §§ 901 & 901 (3-B). The language used makes these requirements mandatory under the rules of construction set forth in Title 21-A M.R.S.A. § 7 and Title 1 M.R.S.A. § 71 (9-A). Based on the Maine Law Court 's decision in McGee v. Secretary of State , 2006 ME 50, ¶¶ 13 and 16, I have no discretion to accept petitions that are not in compliance with mandatory requirements. Accordingly, I find all of the signatures on these petitions to be invalid based on use of a petition form that was not furnished or approved by the Secretary of State and that does not present the full text of the measure as proposed.
3. Based on review of the petitions, I find 9,509 signatures to be invalid for the following additional reasons:
4. I find that all 63,690 signatures are invalid for the reasons set forth in paragraph 2 above, and 9,509 of those signatures are invalid for the additional reasons set forth in paragraph 3 above . The number of signatures required for the petition to be valid is 55,087. Based on the reasons set forth in paragraph 3 alone, therefore, petitioners would have 906 fewer signatures than the minimum required. As petitioners have failed to submit a sufficient number of valid signatures, I find the petition to be invalid.
Dated: February 23, 2009
1 The petition form furnished by this Office to the petitioners in accordance with the Constitution and 21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 contained the pages of the initiated legislation in the correct order.
2 The Constitution provides that “the petition shall set forth the full text of the measure requested or proposed” and, further, that “petition forms shall be furnished or approved by the Secretary of State.” Me. Const., art. IV, pt. 3, § 20.
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