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For Immediate Release
January 24, 2001
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky

5 p.m. Thursday is Deadline to File Citizen Initiative Petitions 
for November 6, 2001 Ballot

Augusta--Thursday, January 25, 2001 is the final day for filing citizen initiative petitions with the Office of the Secretary of State for inclusion on the November 6, 2001 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 6, 2000.

“If we do not receive any petitions by tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., then it will be one of the few times in the last several years that a citizen initiated referendum question was not on a November ballot,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.  “With the exception of 1992 and 1998, at least one citizen initiated referendum has appeared on the ballot over the past 17 years.  However, there is still an opportunity for the Legislature, through the legislative process, to place bond issues, constitutional amendments and referenda questions on the ballot.”

Five petitions are currently approved for circulation by the Secretary of State’s Office.  An additional two petition groups have begun the process, but have not yet received final authorization to circulate petitions.  For a complete list of all citizen initiatives, please click here.

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 42,101.  If the Legislature does not adopt an initiative as presented, then it is automatically placed on the next ballot, in this case November 6, 2001.