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CWA of Maine Opposes LD 1690 – An Act to Prevent Predatory Signature Gathering and Ensure a Clean Citizen Initiative and People’s Veto Process

By February 10, 2010Maine
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Statement by
Penny A. Morrell, Area Director South

Concerned Women for America of Maine

To Members of the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee

Regarding LD 1690 “An Act To Prevent Predatory Signature Gathering and Ensure a
Clean Citizen Initiative and People’s Veto Process”

February 8, 2010

Concerned Women For America of Maine opposes LD 1690 for the following reasons.

We live in a state that works to make it very easy for constituents to vote. We should carry that philosophy over to the citizen’s initiative process. The law is currently cumbersome in that it requires collecting 55,000 signatures, equal to a percentage of the number of voters who voted in the prior gubernatorial election and submitting them to the Secretary of State shortly after a bill is signed into law. New to the law is the registration of every petition circulator with verification from the municipal clerk that the person is, in fact, a registered voter in his/her municipality.

Once the signatures are collected, the circulator must sign the petition(s) in front of a notary signifying he/she did, in fact, witness every signature on the petition(s). Then the petition must be taken to the municipality so the clerk may validate that every signature belongs to a registered voter in that municipality.

The work is very difficult and time consuming. It is also costly, considering the price of printing petitions, mileage to collect, validate and notarize petitions, say nothing about what is paid, if necessary, to circulators in order to accumulate the required number of signatures.

If you require electronic lists and charge a fee for the lists, that’s an unfunded mandate. It will add to the hardship of addressing our government regarding legislation we desire or want to reject.

There is no reason to extend the time period to examine petitions when challenging the decision of the Secretary of State from 5 to 10 days. It is unnecessary and only slows the process of getting the initiative to referendum.

To require registration and financial filings of organizations or individuals desiring to petition our government is also egregious. We live in a free society and individuals, not the government, rule.

We urge you to oppose LD 1690. Thank you.