FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Releases Final Ballot Question for the Oxford County Casino Citizen Initiative
AUGUSTA, Maine — Following a 30-day public comment period, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has now finalized the wording of the question for the Oxford County Casino citizen initiative that will be presented to Maine voters on the November 2, 2010 referendum ballot.
On February 17, 2010, the Secretary of State certified that proponents of an Act to Allow a Casino in Oxford County had gathered a sufficient number of signatures to have the initiated legislation placed before the Legislature. Members of the House and Senate had the option of enacting the measure into law, without amendment, or sending the question to the voters for a final determination. Because the initiated bill was not enacted, the question will be placed on the November ballot.
The Secretary of State is charged with drafting the question to be posed to the voters on the ballot. Maine law directs the Secretary of State to draft the question concisely and intelligibly. Maine law ( Title 21-A §905-A ) further stipulates that before a ballot question is finalized the Secretary must “provide a 30-day public comment period for the purpose of receiving comments on the content and form of proposed questions to be placed on the ballot for any pending initiatives.”
"We received about 25 public comments. Some supported the question as written, and others made technical suggestions for clarification, which was very enlightening and helpful," Dunlap said. "The intent of the law was to engage the public and get their input to help us write the best possible questions, and I believe we've done just that."
Dunlap noted the proposed legislation is 19 pages long and that makes the crafting of a simple, easy-to-understand question difficult. “We spent a significant amount of time on the first draft with volunteers on the ballot clarity advisory committee and the Attorney General's office. The feedback from the public has led to more changes, which we hope will more closely capture the essence of the proposal and convey clearly to the voter what it will mean to vote either yes or no on this question.”
Below is the title of the initiated bill accompanied by the question that will appear on the ballot:
Do you want to allow a casino with table games and slot machines at a single site in Oxford County, subject to local approval, with part of the profits going to specific state, local and tribal programs?
In addition to this citizen initiated question, the November 2, 2010 Referendum Election ballot will include two bond questions. For more information on the November 2, 2010 Election, please visit the Secretary of State's website at Elections information page.