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Constitutional Provisions for Maine's Citizen Initiative and People's Veto
Last updated: January 2024

Introduction

Legislative efforts to create a citizen's initiative and a people's veto began in 1903. This proposal was referred to the next Legislature, but was defeated by the House of Representatives. The measure was finally enacted in 1907 and sent to statewide referendum in 1908. The amendment was approved and added seven new sections to the Maine Constitution (Article IV, Part 3, §§16 to 22). The changes became effective on January 6, 1909. Maine became the first eastern state to adopt statewide initiative and referendum legislation.

Maine's first people's veto was in 1909 and its first initiated legislation was presented to the Legislature in 1911.

Browse by Resolve / Resolution:  



Year LD &
Amendments
Title of Legislation &
Form of the Referendum Question
Date & Result
of Referendum
Final Disposition Sections of
Constitution Affected
Legislative Record
Debate & Remarks
Other Documents &
News Clips
Full LD History
1907 HD 9

New Draft:
HD 441
RESOLVE proposing an amendment to article four of the constitution of the State of Maine, establishing a people's veto through the optional referendum, and a direct initiative by petition and at general elections

Shall the constitution be amended as proposed by a resolution of the legislature providing for the establishment of a people's veto through the optional referendum and a direct initiative by petition and at general or special elections?
Sept. 14, 1908

Yes:  53,785
No:   24,543
Res. 1907, c. 121

Effective:
Jan. 6, 1909
Enacted:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §§16-22

Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 1, §1

 
House, March 14, 1907
p. 638-647

Senate, March 13, 1907
p. 568

Senate, March 15, 1907
p. 648-649

House, March 21, 1907
p. 783, 789, 793

Governor's Message:  Message of Governor Cobb to the Legislature (1907) N/A
1947 LD 238

Enacted with amendment:

Committee "A"
RESOLVE, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution for Additional Signers in Petitions for Referendum

Shall the constitution be amended as proposed by a resolution of the legislature to provide for additional signers in petitions for referendum?
Sept. 13, 1948

Yes:  68,237
No:   65,698
Res. 1947, c. 37

Effective:
Oct. 20, 1948
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17
House, February 26, 1947
p. 309-310

House, March 12, 1947
p. 465-471
N/A N/A
1949 LD 874 RESOLVE, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Change the Date of Filing Initiated Legislation

Shall the constitution be amended as proposed by a resolution of the legislature to change the date of filing initiated legislation?
Sept. 11, 1950

Yes:  101,116
No:   46,238
Res. 1949, c. 61

Effective:
Oct. 12, 1950
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18
No debate. N/A N/A
1951 LD 576

Enacted with amendment:

#409
RESOLVE, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Make Temporarily Inoperative any Measure Adopted by the People which Fails to Provide a Revenue Adequate for its Service

Shall the constitution be amended as proposed by resolution of the legislature to make temporarily inoperative any measure adopted by the people which fails to provide a revenue adequate for its service?
Sept. 10, 1951

Yes:  24,746
No:   20,900
Res. 1951, c. 126

Effective:
Sept. 26, 1951
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §19
No debate. N/A N/A
1951 LD 694

Enacted with amendment:

#355
RESOLVE, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution Providing for Additional Signers for Direct Initiative of Legislation

Shall the constitution be amended as proposed by a resolution of the legislature providing that direct initiative of legislation shall require not less than 10% of the total vote for governor as cast in the last previous gubernatorial election?
Sept. 10, 1951

Yes:  23,600
No:   21,986
Res. 1951, c. 110

Effective:
Sept. 26, 1951
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18
Senate, May 2, 1951
p. 1793-1794

House, May 3, 1951
p. 1869-1870
N/A N/A
1957 LD 93

Enacted with amendments:

#272
#397
RESOLVE, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution Changing the Date of the General Election

Shall the Constitution which now provides that the general election shall take place on the second Monday of September, biennially, be amended, as proposed by a resolution of the Legislature, to the Tuesday following the first Monday in November?
Sept. 9, 1957

Yes:  63,820
No:   36,202
Res. 1957, c. 94

Effective:
Sept. 19, 1957
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
House, May 2, 1957
p. 1215

House, May 13, 1957
p. 1543-1544

House, May 14, 1957
p. 1570-1571

House, May 15, 1957
p. 1686-1693

House, May 16, 1957
p. 1766-1767

Senate, May 22, 1957
p. 2029-2030
N/A N/A
1975 LD 188

Enacted with amendment:
 
H-241
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Establish Filing Dates for Initiative and Referendum Petitions; Clarify When the Effective Date of a Bill is Suspended by the Filing of a Referendum Petition; Clarify the Process of Calling a Special Election for an Initiative or Referendum Vote; Limit Legislative Amendment and Repeal of Laws Initiated or Approved by the People; Clarify the Petition Process and Provide for Review of the Validity of Petitions.

Shall the Constitution be amended as proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to establish filing dates for initiative and referendum petitions; clarify when the effective date of a bill is suspended by the filing of a referendum petition; clarify the process of calling a special election for an initiative or referendum vote; limit legislative amendment and repeal of laws initiated or approved by the people; clarify the petition process; and provide for review of the validity of petitions?
Nov. 4, 1975

Yes:  105,073
No:   32,995
Con. Res. 1975, c. 2

Effective:
Nov. 24, 1975
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §22
Senate, May 20, 1975
p. B1165

Senate, May 21, 1975
p. B1214

Senate, May 27, 1975
p. B1332
Report:  Report of the Judiciary Committee on the initiative and referendum process (Dec. 1974)

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
N/A
1975 LD 904

OTP-ND:
LD 1827

Enacted with amendments:

H-491
H-851
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Provide for Annual Sessions of the Legislature

Shall the Constitution be amended as proposed by a resolution of the Legislature to provide for annual sessions of the Legislature with limits on the matters which may be considered in the second regular session of each biennium and to change the date of the convening of the Legislature?
Nov. 4, 1975

Yes:  91,582
No:   47,877
Con. Res. 1975, c. 5

Effective:
Nov. 24, 1975
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §16
House, April 23, 1975
p. B652-B654

Senate, April 25, 1975
p. B707

Senate, April 29, 1975
p. B767-B768

Senate, May 1, 1975
p. B805-B808

Senate, May 5, 1975
p. B847-B849

House, May 27, 1975
p. B1299

Senate, May 27, 1975
p. B1343

House, May 30, 1975
p. B1464-B1465

Senate, June 2, 1975
p. B1540

Senate, June 4, 1975
p. B1625-B1626

Senate, June 26, 1975
p. B2335-B2337

House, June 27, 1975
p. B2346-B2348

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2372

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2375-B2376

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2386-B2387

Senate, June 28, 1975
p. B2399-B2401

Senate, July 2, 1975
p. B2431-B2432
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. N/A
1980 LD 1747

Enacted with amendment:

H-881
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Referendum and Initiative Provisions

Shall the Constitution of Maine be amended to change the referendum provisions so that the direct initiative and people's veto elections can be held at the same time as a scheduled statewide election?
Nov. 4, 1980

Yes:  364,629
No:   96,099
Con. Res. 1979, c. 3

Effective:
Nov. 25, 1980
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §21
House, March 18, 1980
p. 495
N/A N/A
1981 LD 1317

Enacted with amendment:

H-283
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Law and Constitutional Provisions Relating to Consolidating Initiative and Referendum Elections to Dates of the Next General Election

Shall the Constitution of Maine be amended to change the initiative provisions to require that for initiatives begun after the effective date of this resolution all signatures be dated and limit the validity of a signature to one year?
Nov. 3, 1981

Yes:  141, 975
No:   77, 170
Con. Res. 1981, c. 1

Effective:
Nov. 23, 1981
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18(2)
House, May 8, 1981
p. 995-996
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. Yes
1988 LD 2695 RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Clarify the Original Constitutional Resolution Making the Language of the Constitution Gender-Neutral

Shall the Constitution of Maine be amended to remove gender-biased language in order to clarify that the Constitution applies to all individuals?
Nov. 8, 1988

Yes:  292,335
No:   232,456
Con. Res. 1987, c. 4

Effective:
Nov. 28, 1988
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17(3)
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §19
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
No debate. Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. Yes
1996 LD 1628

Enacted with amendment:

H-714
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Regarding Municipal Certification of Direct Initiative Petitions

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that a direct initiative petition be submitted to local officials earlier than is presently required in order to allow 5 working days rather than 2 working days for local officials to certify the petition?
Nov. 5, 1996

Yes:  367,994
No:   187,428
 Con. Res. 1995, c. 3

Effective:
Jan. 2, 1997
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
House, March 5, 1996
p. H-1657-H-1658
Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

Yes
1999 LD 122

Enacted with amendment:

S-24
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Timing of Elections Following the Submission of a Petition for People's Veto

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that a petition for a people's veto be voted on at the next statewide or general election, rather than at a special election?
Nov. 2, 1999

Yes:  285,174
No:   114,640
Con. Res. 1999, c. 1

Effective:
Nov. 22, 1999
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17(1)
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17(3)
House, March 30, 1999
p. H-466-H-470

Senate, April 8, 1999
p. S-521
Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. Yes
2006 LD 2033

Enacted with amendments:

H-895
S-513
S-544
RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Clarify Deadlines for Submitting Direct Initiatives to Municipal Officials for Signature Verification

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to state that a citizens' initiative or people's veto petition must be submitted to local or state officials by the constitutional deadline in order to be certified and, in the case of a citizens' initiative, must be filed with the Secretary of State within 18 months?
Nov. 7, 2006

Yes:  270,922
No:   229,749
Con. Res. 2005, c. 2

Effective:
Nov. 27, 2006
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18(1)
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18(2)
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
House, March 31, 2006
p. H-1426

Senate, April 5, 2006
p. S-1792
Report:  Report on the Feasibility of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV): Prepared for the 122nd Maine Legislature Pursuant to the Public Laws of 2003, Chapter 117 (Jan. 15, 2005)

Committee File:
  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.


Yes
2019 LD 1437

Enacted with amendments:

H-163
H-344
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Concerning Alternative Signatures Made by Persons with Disabilities

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to allow persons with disabilities to sign petitions in an alternative manner as authorized by the Legislature?
Nov. 5, 2019

Yes:  141,162
No:   45,799
Con. Res. 2019, c. 1

Effective:
Nov. 15, 2019
Amended:
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
House, May 8, 2019
p. H-519-H-520

House, May 29, 2019
p. H-694-H-695
Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes