Election 2023 Referendum Question 5

Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 7:05 PM EST
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) -QUESTION 5: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Timing of Judicial Review of the Determination of the Validity of Written Petitions. Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the time period for judicial review of the validity of written petitions from within 100 days from the date of filing to within 100 business days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed within 30 calendar days before or after a general election? Attorney and WAGM Legal Contributor Luke Rossignol explains what the ballot question means...“part of that resolution I guess I would consider on a basic level almost a housekeeping item but it stems from prior experience that Secretary of State office has had with prior citizen initiative type referenda that have been put in front of Secretary of State to get ready for an election. So essentially its a time issue and a resource issue that SOS has advocated for this extra time so if you put it into practice and switch from a 100 days total to a 100 business days it gives SOS and their staff people that are resources essentially 40 additional days to be able to check signatures so at its most basic level its a resource issue from what I can tell from reading the history of that setup on that question and the SOS office is saying there’s not enough time to adequately check the signatures critical components of that from what I could read are that it doesn’t change the timing requirements for people seeking their citizen initiative it doesn’t shorten the amount of time from what I could tell it doesn’t prejudice groups who are doing that petition process. It just gives the SOS and to some extent the court who might review this more time. No one loses their ability to go to court have a challenge against it or for it in one direction or the other so in other words the petitioning parties still have all their rights that they would have if they feel SOS has done something wrong and the SOS has the ability to do their thing if they feel they need to with the court system as well so that’s the basics of it I think its question of time resources which almost always go together and based on some prior experience it was felt I think or experienced by the SOS that they didn’t have time and enough resources to adequately check all the signatures.”