Attorney General Janet Mills has not yet replied to the Maine Republican Party's call for an investigation of the illegal signature gathering by the Maine’s People Alliance on behalf of the Yes on 2 campaign.
But Wednesday the Maine Secretary of State's office issued a statement acknowledging that the organization had not timely filed the required registration document with Office of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State admitted that it was submitted after the signatures had been filed with, and accepted by, the Secretary of State. The registration requirement is intended to provide transparency in the referendum process by providing the public with knowledge of the identity of organizations that are paid to circulate ballot petitions prior to the initiation of that process.
Remarkably, the Secretary of State's office noted that it has now “changed [its] process to require the filing of the registration form prior to issuing petitions.” Yet the statute that requires the filing of the registration “[p]rior to organizing, supervising or managing the circulation of petitions for a direct initiative of legislation or a people's veto referendum” has been in effect since as far back as 2010.
We have to wonder if the Secretary of State’s Office would have taken as casual an approach to compliance with and enforcement of the statute governing the conduct of the referendum process had the purpose of the referendum been to curtail the power of the Secretary of State.
In light of Maine's top election official preferring to give a pass to the Yes on 2 campaign, we are deeply concerned. This violation cannot be ignored by Maine's top law enforcement official, and we renew our call for Attorney General Mills to fulfill her statutory obligation to initiate an investigation of the violation.
Political & Communications Director
Maine Republican Party