This past November, Maine voters were asked to weigh in on five different referendum questions, including two which raised some serious Constitutional concerns.
Question Three sought increased restrictions on the rights of Maine people to keep and bear arms. Even though Article I, § 16 of the Maine Constitution provides: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”
Question Five sought to fundamentally rewrite the way candidates are elected to office, through a 'ranked choice voting' system which appears to fly in the face of language in the Maine Constitution.
Read More Here: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_128th/billtexts/SO001201.asp
The Maine Constitution specifically provides, that persons elected to the House of Representatives and Governor, and then in a separate provision, the Senate, shall be elected by a plurality.
Unfortunately, under existing Maine law, there is no clear way to challenge the Constitutionality of these questions before they appear on the ballot, leaving a glaring vulnerability to the rights of the the people of Maine.
Senator Eric Brakey's bill, LD 1411, would allow for multiple paths to challenge referendum language on Constitutional grounds before a question appears on the ballot.
Read Senator Brakey's Statement:
Read The Bill:
LD 1411 bill: http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280064739
An opinion of the Supreme Court could be initiated by:
- Maine Governor
- Maine Attorney General
- Maine Legislature
- Maine Voters (500 signatures)
And if a majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court agreed, the Maine Secretary of State would reject the proposal under the law.
There are a lot of proposals to alter Maine's referendum process, and many have merit.
This one in particular goes to the heart of protecting the rights of Maine people from referendum questions that would use the 'popular vote' to infringe upon those rights.
Even if out-of-state groups continue to push the referendum process to try and pass measures that the Legislature has the wisdom to reject, there would be a tool to protect the rights of the minority.
And that is the foundation of the Republic.
-Jason Savage, Executive Director
To sign up as a Citizen Co-Sponsor on LD 1411, go here:
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