The wording of the five citizens’ initiative questions that will appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 Referendum Election ballot is now finalized, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Thursday.
The order of these citizens’ initiative questions on the ballot will be determined by a random drawing on Monday, June 27 at 11 a.m. This drawing is open to the public. It will take place in the lobby of the Maine State Archives in the Cultural Building, 230 State St., Augusta.
Below is the title of each initiative and the final wording for how it will appear on the ballot:
- 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?”
The full text of each proposed bill is available for viewing on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions’ Citizens’ Initiatives webpage, along with proponent information.
Secretary Dunlap received 185 comments on these initiatives during the 30-day public comment period, which was open Friday, May 13 through Monday, June 13. These comments, from individuals and organizations throughout the state, were taken into consideration to draft the final language of the ballot question.
“We try to capture as much of the essence of the legislation as possible when we draft the ballot questions,” said Secretary Dunlap. “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.”
The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions will be creating a Citizens’ Guide to the 2016 Election in the coming months and all voters are encouraged to read it to inform themselves of the details of each bill, which cannot be fully addressed in the ballot questions.
In addition to the citizens’ initiative questions, the November Referendum Election ballot will also include one bond question, LD 1694, which will appear below the citizens’ initiative questions on the 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 November 2016 elections, visit http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html. Information on voter registration and locating your polling place can also be found on the Corporations, Elections and Commissions website.