Citizen Initiative Application Packet

  1. Excerpts from The Constitution of the State of Maine
  2. Title 21-A, Chapter 11: "Ballot Questions"
  3. Initiative Legislation Application Form (in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) format)

Petition Procedures

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.

Any Maine registered voter may circulate a citizen initiative by following these steps:

  1. The voter must submit a written application to the Secretary of State. The completed application must contain the names, addresses and signatures of 5 Maine registered voters, in addition to the applicant, who are designated to receive any notices related to the processing of the application. The voter submitting the application must sign it in the presence of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State's designee or a notary public. The application must contain the full text of the proposed law.
  2. Within 15 business days after receiving an application, the Secretary of State must review the application and either reject it, or accept it, and provide a revised draft of the initiative legislation to the applicant.
  3. If the applicant revises the legislation, the applicant must submit each subsequent draft of the legislation to the Secretary of State for review. Again, the Secretary of State must review each subsequent draft within 10 days of receipt, and provide a revised draft or written response suggesting how the proposed law may be modified to conform to the requirements of Title 21-A, Section 901, and the drafting conventions of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.
  4. The applicant must provide the Secretary of State with written consent to the final language of the proposed law.
  5. After receiving written consent from the applicant, the Elections Division will provide an approved petition form to be circulated by the petitioners. The proponents must print or duplicate additional petition forms as needed, in the exact format provided by the Secretary of State. The approved petition form must include the following specifications:

      A. Printed on paper no larger than 11 x 17 inches
      B. Text of the legislation
      C. Instructions for petitioners
      D. Common reasons signatures are rejected
      E. Circulator's Verification
      F. Certification of the Registrar
      G. Initiative summary

  6. The date the approved form of the petition is provided to the applicant is the date of issuance. The petition may be circulated for 18 months from the date of issuance.
  7. Petitions may be circulated by any Maine registered voter.

Initiative Filing Deadlines

The filing deadlines for initiative legislation are determined as follows: First Regular Session: By 5:00 p.m. on or before the 50th day after the convening of the Legislature. The first regular session convenes on the first Wednesday of December following the General Election. Second Regular Session: By 5:00 p.m. on or before the 25th day after the convening of the Legislature. The second regular session convenes on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January in the even-numbered year following the General Election.

-- Constitution of Maine, Article 4, Part Third, Section 18, sub-section 2.

For further information on the procedures pertaining to initiative legislation, please contact the Division of Elections at (207) 624-7650.