FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Contact: Kristen Muszynski
Superior Court denies appeal, affirms
determination on York County casino petition effort
AUGUSTA ? In a decision handed down today, Justice Michaela Murphy of the Kennebec County Superior Court affirmed the decision of the Department of the Secretary of State on the citizens? initiative ?An Act To Allow Slot Machines Or a Casino in York County.?
On March 2, the department found that the petition effort did not have enough valid signatures of Maine voters to qualify for the 2016 ballot. The Department of the Secretary of State found that the petitioners had submitted 35,518 valid signatures, while 55,776 are not valid. A minimum of 61,123 valid signatures from registered Maine voters is required in the citizens? initiative process. The determination was challenged in a legal appeal that concluded with the decision today.
?We are satisfied with the ruling,? said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. ?We realize that those citizens who signed this petition in good faith may be disappointed, but our job is to ensure that the Constitutional requirements are met, and to that end, we are gratified by the ruling.?
In her ruling, Justice Murphy found that the petitioners did not meet the burden of proof to show that the petition determination was not supported by evidence, or that the department?s procedure was so flawed as to invalidate the entire determination.
The court chose not to issue a ruling on the issue of the 18,259 signatures invalidated due to the circulator or notary?s oath signature, due to the fact that even if those signatures were validated, the petitioners still would not meet the required threshold of 61,123 signatures.