March 5, 2014
Contact:  Raphaelle A. Silver
(207) 626.8404

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Rules on Bear Initiative

AUGUSTA, MAINE – Secretary of State Matt Dunlap determined today that enough valid signatures have been submitted to advance a citizen initiative seeking “to prohibit the use of dogs, bait or traps when hunting bears except under certain circumstances.”

Under a formula established in the Maine Constitution, 57, 277 valid signatures are required for the proposal to advance.  Secretary Dunlap certified that 63,626 valid signatures were submitted, or 6,349 signatures more than required.

The Legislature may either approve the legislation exactly as written by the proponents or the Legislature may disapprove the legislation. If the Legislature fails to approve the legislation, then the ballot question is drafted and will be put before the voters statewide no later than November, 2014.  Information about the citizen initiative process is available by clicking on the “Citizen Initiative” link at Contact information for the proponent is also available at that site.

A detailed determination is attached which lists the various categories and numbers of valid and invalid signatures for this petition.  The summary of the determination is:

Initially submitted signatures                                                                      76,841
Excluded by local officials or by the Secretary of State                                13,215
Total valid signatures ........................................................................... 63,626

(Total Needed  57,277)

The staff in our Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions has been working diligently to review the petition, said Secretary Dunlap, They are a small staff and theyve done a tremendous job. The process for certifying an effort like this requires fine, detailed scrutiny, and our people have worked every weekend over the last month to make sure this was certified on time and that the work was completed deliberately and with integrity. Local election officials also played a crucial role in this process and have done excellent work. All have performed a great service for democracy and for the citizens of Maine. We are confident that this initiative has met the strict standards as set forth in the Maine constitution.



Determination of the Validity of a Petition for Initiated Legislation Entitled:

An Act To Prohibit the Use of Dogs, Bait or Traps When Hunting Bears
except under Certain Circumstances”

1) On February 3, 2014, 15,164 petitions containing 76,841 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 on behalf of the above-entitled initiated legislation.

2) Following a review of these 15,164 petitions I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:

  9,654 signatures are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality. (REG)

  2,347 signatures are invalid because they are duplicates of signatures already counted. (DUP)

  494 signatures are invalid because the voter’s signature was withdrawn from the petition. (WD)

  256 signatures are invalid because the circulator’s oath was not complete or not administered properly.

  157 signatures are invalid because the voter dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator’s oath before the notary or the voter’s signature was not dated and it could not be determined that the voter signed the petition before the circulator took the oath. (DATE)

  91 signatures are invalid because the circulator oath’s was not completed prior to submitting the petition to the registrar for certification. (PRIOR)

  66 signatures are invalid because the registered voter’s signature was made by another. (ANO)

  58 signatures are invalid because of material alterations to the petition. (ALT)

  57 signatures are invalid because the petitioner failed to provide a signature. (SIG)

  21 signatures are invalid because the notary was related to the circulator. (OWN)

  10 signatures are invalid because the petition was submitted to the municipal registrar for determination of whether the petitioners were qualified voters after the deadline set by the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 20. (AMD)

  3 signatures are invalid because the circulators collected signatures prior to becoming registered to vote in the State of Maine. (CIRC)

  1 signature is invalid because the petition was not on the approved form. (FORM)

3) For the reasons set forth above, on the 15,164 petition forms fully reviewed by the Secretary of State, I find that 13,215 signatures are invalid and 63,626 signatures are valid.  The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 57,277.  Because the number of valid signatures exceeds the required number by 6,349 signatures, I find the petition to be valid.

Dated:  March 5, 2014

Matthew Dunlap
Secretary of State


Raphaelle A. Silver / Director of Communications
Office of the Secretary of State / 148 State House Station / Augusta, ME 04333-0148
 207-287-8598 / Web:

An additional 1,981 petitions that were submitted contained only signatures that were certified as invalid by municipal registrars.  The Secretary of State did not complete a full review of signatures included on these 1,981 petition forms and these signatures were not included in the final tally of signatures that culminated in this Determination of Validity.