Governor LePage Sends Letter to Secretary Dunlap Regarding Wording of Referendum Questions

June 8, 2018

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 8, 2018
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage this week sent a letter to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to express his disappointment with the lack of clarity and the misleading nature of the wording of recent referendum questions. The letter addresses both Question 1 on ranked choice voting on next week’s ballot and the draft question for the 3.8 percent tax to support in home care that will be on November’s ballot.

“The ballot question for ranked choice voting should have been worded clearly and directly,” stated Governor LePage. “It might take a bit more time, but it can be done. If doing so would have required a longer question broken into clear, understandable sections, then that is how it should have been written. The statute requires that the Secretary of State word the ‘question in a simple, clear, concise and direct manner that describes the subject matter.’ The statute does not privilege brevity over clarity.”

“Most of voters have other priorities, like family and work, and do not have time to ensure that they have parsed out the legal implications of such a convoluted question. It is unreasonable to assume that they do so. Not only is it unreasonable, it is elitist, disrespectful and counterproductive for a state agency to tell citizens that, in order to understand a question that should have been written in the plainest language possible, it is incumbent upon them—rather than us as public servants—to do the heavy lifting,” the Governor said.

A copy of the letter is available at the link below.

Related Documents

Governor LePage's Letter to Secretary of State Dunlap