Maine still has a chance to fix its broken ballot initiative process this legislative session.
In a surprise move, Maine’s House of Representatives passed LD 31 today on a simple majority vote, moving the measure to the Senate for a likely vote tomorrow, April 11. With two-thirds majority votes in both the House and Senate, the bill would appear before Maine voters on the November ballot.
LD 31 proposes an amendment to the Maine Constitution that requires petition circulators to collect signatures for ballot initiatives in both of Maine’s congressional districts. The measure would prevent southern Maine from unilaterally imposing its will on the Second District by ensuring that collected signatures represent a diverse geographic sampling of Maine voters.
Twelve of the 24 states with citizen initiated referendum systems have geographic requirements to qualify for the ballot. If this bill were to pass in both chambers with a two-thirds majority vote, Maine voters would have the opportunity to decide in November whether the ballot initiative process should be reformed.
A basic geographic requirement is a realistic first step to fixing Maine’s broken ballot initiative process, which has been manipulated by out-of-state special interest groups at the expense of Maine taxpayers. Liberal billionaire George Soros has already dumped $350,000 into Maine this election season for the Universal Home Care initiative that will appear before voters in November.
In the past, the vast majority of signatures certified for ballot initiatives have come from the First District. Southern Maine has densely populated cities with large swaths of liberal voters, allowing special interest groups to concentrate their signature collection efforts to just one area of Maine – a state so large that 87 different countries could fit inside its borders. Given Maine’s North-South dichotomy, it only makes sense for the whole state to be represented in the signature collection process before these measures appear on the ballot.
In 2013, for example, 74 percent of certified signatures for the bear baiting referendum were collected in the First District. In 2016, Question 3 saw 70 percent of its signatures collected in the First District, and Question 4 had 62 percent of certified signatures collected in southern Maine. Alarmingly, 20 percent of Question 4’s certified signatures came from Portland alone.
Why are out-of-state billionaires like Soros and Michael Bloomberg, who fund massive tax hikes on the Maine people through the hijacking our referendum system, so afraid of this bill? If proponents of the ballot initiative process believe the “will of the people” is so strong, they should support letting Mainers decide the issue this November.
The passage of this bill would simply put it on the ballot for all Mainers to decide. Let’s find out what the “will of the people” is on ballot initiative reform.