Senator Brad Farrin Seeks to Reform Signature Gathering Process for Referendums

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – Senator Brad Farrin (R-Somerset) has introduced LR 848, “Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require That Signatures on a Direct Initiative of Legislation Come from Each Congressional District.” This bill, similar to LD 31 in the 128th Legislature, would require that petitioners looking to utilize the Citizens Referendum process collect the same number of signatures in each of Maine’s two congressional districts.

“Of the 24 states that have citizen initiated referendums, half include geographical requirements to qualify for the ballot in order to make sure that referendum proposals have some level of statewide support,” Farrin said.

“As we have seen in recent years, these safeguards are necessary to ensure that our referendum system isn’t abused by deep pockets from away that focus on the southern part of our state without venturing anywhere near the district that I represent. Examples of this abuse include the 2014 bear referendum, funded by the Humane Society of the United States, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to collect signatures with 74% of them coming from the First Congressional District, and Question 3 from 2016, in which Michael Bloomberg spent over half of a million dollars to collect signatures, 70% of which came from the First Congressional District.

“If we are going to have a referendum system, we need to make sure that it’s a platform for Maine voters to enact change, not a system that pits the northern and southern parts of our state against each other.”

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