Input: Secretary of state seeks input on fall ballot questions

The Sun Journal

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AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is taking public comments on the wording of five referendum questions that will go to Maine voters in November.

Ballot questions range from legalizing marijuana to increasing the state's minimum wage. Under state law, Dunlap is required to seek comments on the proposed wording of ballot questions before sending them to voters for consideration on Nov. 8.

 Below is the name of each piece of legislation and its proposed ballot wording:

· "An Act To Establish Ranked-Choice Voting"

“Do you want to change Maine election law to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate and State Representative?”

· "An Act to Raise the Minimum Wage"

“Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9.00 in 2017, and in $1.00 increments up to $12 in 2020; and to raise it for service workers who receive tips from the current rate of $3.75 to $5 in 2017, in $1.00 increments up to $12 in 2024?”

· "An Act to Require Background Checks for Gun Sales"

“Do you want to change Maine law to require background checks prior to the transfer of firearms between individuals, with some exceptions for certain circumstances?”

· "An Act To Establish The Fund to Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education"

“Do you want to establish a Fund to support kindergarten through 12th-grade public education by adding a 3 percent surcharge on Maine taxable income above $200,000?”

· "An Act To Legalize Marijuana"

“Do you want to legalize the possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, allow state and local regulation of retail sales of marijuana, and allow state regulation of the cultivation, manufacture, testing and distribution of marijuana?”

The full text of each proposed bill is available for viewing via the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions Citizens’ Initiatives page, along with proponent information.

State law requires Dunlap to present the question “concisely and intelligibly.” Dunlap will be accepting public comments regarding the form and content of the questions for a 30-day period beginning Friday, May 13, until 5 p.m. June 13.

Those who wish to comment may do so online at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/publiccomment.html.

Comments will also be accepted via email, mail or in person:

· Email: sos.office@maine.gov. Use “public comment” and the name of the ballot question in the subject line.

· Mail: Secretary of State, Attn: Public Comment, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148.

· Drop off written comments to the Office of the Secretary of State at the Nash School Building, 103 Sewall St., second floor, Augusta.

Following the completion of the public review period, the ballot order of the referendum questions will be determined by a random drawing. This is a public proceeding and the department will announce a date and time in advance.

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