Maine initiative signature deadline passes with no signatures submitted; campaigns target 2023 ballot

The Maine 2022 signature deadline for citizen-initiated measures was Jan. 30. None of the six active campaigns submitted signatures; however, the campaigns have an 18 month circulation period allowing the campaigns to target ballots in 2023. 

The six initiatives concern

  • requiring a law to establish a publicly funded health coverage program;
  • creating a consumer-owned electric transmission and distribution utility called the Pine Tree Power Company;
  • prohibiting foreign spending in elections in Maine and calling for a federal constitutional amendment;
  • requiring a voter to present photo identification before voting;
  • requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to extend the governor’s emergency declaration beyond 30 days; and
  • mandating voter approval of borrowing above $1 billion by state entities and electric cooperatives.

Our Power, the campaign behind the Pine Tree Power Company initiative, announced that it was shifting its efforts from placing the initiative on the ballot in 2022 to 2023. Stephanie Clifford, Our Power’s campaign manager, said, “We’re in it for the long run and forging ahead until we get the job done. Every signature is valid for twelve months, and our ongoing efforts will soon give Mainers a choice.” 

Maine Healthcare Action, the campaign behind the publicly funded health coverage initiative, released a similar statement that said, “With Covid-19 cases surging in the state, we’ve decided we need a little more time to gather the remaining signatures we need to put this important issue of Universal Healthcare to Maine voters.” The campaign reported they had collected 40,000 signatures as of Dec. 31, 2021.

With the campaigns shifting their efforts to 2023, the number of required signatures will also change for four of the initiatives with circulation deadlines that fall after the 2022 gubernatorial election. In Maine, the signature requirement for citizen-initiated measures is 10% of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election prior to the filing of a petition. The 2022 gubernatorial election will determine the number of signatures required for those petitions that do not file before Nov. 8, 2022. 

For petitions filing before the 2022 gubernatorial election, the requirement is 63,067 valid signatures. The filing deadline for the petition related to healthcare is June 3, 2022. The filing deadline for the petition related to the governor’s emergency order is July 25, 2022.

Between 1985 and 2021, Maine voters approved 79% (117 of 149) of the ballot measures appearing on even and odd-numbered year ballots.

Additional reading: