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How the Maine Citizen Initiative Process Works

How Does Someone Start A Citizen Initiative Petition?

Six Maine registered voters submit an application to the Secretary of State for a citizen initiative, along with the full text of the proposed law.

Then What?

The Secretary of State reviews the application and either rejects it, or accepts it, and provides a revised draft of the initiative legislation to the applicant, within 15 days of receiving the application. This process continues until the applicant consents to the final language of the proposed law.

After receiving written consent from the applicant, the Elections Division provides an approved petition form to be circulated by the petitioners.

Circulating the Initiative Petition

The petition may be circulated for 18 months from the date of issuance, but all signatures must be gathered in a twelve month period of time.

Petitions may be circulated by any Maine registered voter, but you must be a registered Maine voter to circulate a petition.

How Many Signature Are Required?

At least 10% of the total number of votes cast for Governor at the last Gubernatorial Election, which is currently 57,277 valid signatures are needed for the initiative petition to be valid. The petition signatures must be certified by the clerks in the voting districts where the petitions were circulated.

What Is the Deadline to Submit the Signatures?

The deadline is usually around January 25 of each year, though it varies. During odd‑numbered years, the deadline is the 50th day after the convening of the Legislature in the First Regular Session. During even‑numbered years, the deadline is the 25th day after the convening of the Legislature in the Second Regular Session.

What Happens After The Secretary Of State Determines A Petition To Be Valid?

After the Secretary of State determines that a petition is valid, the petition is immediately transmitted to the Legislature for its consideration. The Legislature may either approve the legislation exactly as written by the proponents or the Legislature may disapprove the legislation. If the Legislature approves the legislation, it becomes law without the approval of the voters. If the Legislature fails to approve the legislation, then the ballot question is drafted and will be placed on the ballot in November of that year for consideration by the voters.

Note, the Legislature may adopt a competing measure that will appear on the ballot along with the related initiative.

What Year Will The We The People Maine Initiative Be On the Ballot?

If the Legislature accepts our proposed legislation, we will not need to be on the ballot. But if the legislation does not accept our proposed legislation, we plan on being on the ballot for the election in 2015. We plan to start gathering signatures in January 2014, submit our petition to the Secretary of State in January 2015, and be on the ballot in November 2015.


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This website is maintained by an organization sponsored by The Midcoast Peace & Justice Group and registered with the Maine Ethics Commission.