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Maine Voters To Decide On Record Eight Ballot Measures In November

From constitutional amendments to citizen-initiated measures, Maine's November ballot is packed with important decisions.
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Maine’s voters will decide on eight ballot measures in November—the most since 2010.

It’s a banner year for ballot measures in the Pine Tree State. 

People hold a US flag as they watch a motorcade with US President Joe Biden July 28, 2023, in Freeport, Maine. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES) 

In 2023, Maine voters will decide eight measures in November—the most since 2010. Between 1985 and 2022, the average number of ballot measures on the Maine ballot was 5.3 (in fact, the number of certified statewide measures across the country so far is the highest in recent memory in an odd-numbered year—40 compared to an average of 33 between 2011-2021). 

Last year, in 2022, zero measures made the ballot in Maine.

On July 25, the legislature approved four constitutional amendments, adding to the four citizen-initiated state statutes that had already been certified for the November ballot.

A two-thirds supermajority vote is required by both the House and Senate to refer constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voter approval is required for any amendments to the Maine Constitution.

The constitutional amendments that Maine voters will decide in November are in four questions.

Question 5 asks voters that would change the timeline for the judicial review of initiative petitions.

Question 6 asks voters that would require sections of the Maine Constitution pertaining to Maine Indian Treaty Obligations to be included in the official printed version of the constitution.

Question 7 asks voters which would remove the requirement that a circulator for a citizen initiative or referendum petition must be a citizen of Maine.

Question 8 asks voters which would exempt voters from harassment during the voting process, as well as provide for individuals under a guardianship for reasons of mental illness to be able to vote for governor, senators, and representatives.

People hold a US flag as they watch a motorcade with US President Joe Biden July 28, 2023, in Freeport, Maine. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES) 

In addition, Maine voters will also decide four citizen-initiated measures. In Maine, citizens cannot refer constitutional amendments to the ballot but can place state statutes on the ballot through the indirect initiative process. 

This means that after a citizen initiative campaign submits enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the initiative first goes to the legislature. If the legislature approves the initiative, the initiative becomes law. 

If the legislature does not approve the initiative, or if the governor vetoes the initiative, it goes to the ballot for Maine voters to decide. 

The indirect initiated state statutes Maine voters will decide in November are going to be four questions.

Question 1 asks a voter approval for certain entities or utilities that incur a total outstanding debt that exceeds $1 billion

Question 2 asks whether to prohibit election spending by foreign governments. 

Question 3 asks whether to create Pine Tree Power Company, a municipal electric utility, and would allow the company to purchase and acquire all investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities in Maine. 

“We had over 600 letters go to legislators from their constituents protesting the repeal of the corporate campaign contribution ban,” said Anna Keller, executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections.

Question 4 asks voters that would allow motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities to have access to the vehicle on-board diagnostic systems. 

Of the 249 ballot measures Maine voters decided between 1985 and 2022, 186 (74.7%) measures were approved, and 63 (25.3%) were defeated.


Produced in association with Ballotpedia

Edited by and Newsdesk Manager

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