July 6, 2011
Contact: Caitlin E. Chamberlain
(207) 441-0501

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. Announces Ballot Question for the People’s Veto of LD 1376

AUGUSTA, Maine—Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers in concert with staff from the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions has finalized the ballot question on the master petition for citizens wishing to reject the recently enacted law that would move voter registration back to the Thursday prior to Election Day. LD 1376, “An Act To Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process” was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor LePage on June 21, 2011.  It is scheduled to take effect as Public Law Chapter 399 on September 28, 2011.

Pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 of the Maine Constitution, citizens have until the 90th day after the recess of the Legislature to collect and have verified signatures of registered Maine voters equivalent to 10% of the total votes for Governor in the last gubernatorial election in order to force a statewide vote on the enacted measure. The current number of certified signatures required is 57,277.

The Secretary of State is charged with drafting the question for the ballot. State law requires that the question drafted by the Secretary of State be written in “…a simple, clear, concise and direct manner that describes the subject matter of the people’s veto…” and it “…must be phrased so that an affirmative vote is in favor of the people’s veto…”

The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Law of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?

Public Law Chapter 399, of the 125th Maine Legislature, will go into effect unless an apparent number of signatures are turned in by 5:00 PM on September 27, 2011. A stay is then put on the effectiveness of the law, and the Secretary of State has until 30 days after the 90th day following adjournment to certify the submitted signatures. If the Secretary of State rules sufficient signatures have been affixed on the instrument of petition, the stay continues until after the voters decide on the question during a statewide election.

In order for the people’s veto question to appear on the November 8, 2011 referendum ballot, the petition must be submitted to the Secretary of State by August, 8, 2011 and the Governor’s Proclamation must be issued by September 8, 2011.   If the Governor’s Proclamation is not issued by this date, the question will appear on the ballot for the next statewide election on June 12, 2012.