Article: Maine secretary of state revises wording of all five November ballot questions

Bangor Daily News

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Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap on Thursday announced the final wording of five citizen-initiated referendums that will appear on the November ballot. Dunlap’s announcement comes after a month-long public comment period during which he said 185 comments were received.

“We try to capture as much of the essence of the legislation as possible when we draft the ballot questions,” said Dunlap in a written statement. “That was a real challenge with these five initiatives because these are not simple pieces of legislation, and I feel like we owe it to the voters to try and make sure they really understand the ramifications of each one.”

All five ballot questions were altered from their originally proposed wording. They will appear on the November ballot as follows:

  • An Act To Establish Ranked-Choice Voting. “Do you want to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?”
  • An Act To Establish The Fund to Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education. “Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?”
  • An Act To Legalize Marijuana. “Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”
  • An Act to Raise the Minimum Wage. “Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?”
  • An Act to Require Background Checks for Gun Sales. “Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity?”

In addition to the referendums, a request for bonding will appear on the November ballot:

  • An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities. “Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?”

For more information about the election, click here.

Christopher Cousins

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