During a special legislative session, the Maine State Legislature approved four constitutional amendments on July 25 that will appear on the November ballot. Maine voters will decide on these four amendments, as well as four citizen-initiated state statutes, on Nov. 7, 2023.
This is the greatest amount of statewide measures to appear on the Maine ballot since 2010. Between 1985 and 2022, the average number of ballot measures on the Maine ballot was 5.3. Last year, in 2022, there were zero measures on the ballot.
For the legislature to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot in Maine, a two-thirds supermajority vote is required by both the House and Senate. Voter approval is required for any amendments to the Maine Constitution.
The constitutional amendments that Maine voters will decide in November are:
- Question 5, which would change the timeline for the judicial review of initiative petitions
- Question 6, which would require sections of the Maine Constitution pertaining to Maine Indian Treaty Obligations to be included in the official printed version of the constitution
- Question 7, which would remove the requirement that a circulator for a citizen initiative or referendum petition must be a citizen of Maine
- Question 8, which would exempt voters from harassment during the voting process, as well as provide for individuals under a guardianship for reasons of mental illness to be able to vote for governor, senators, and representatives
In addition, Maine voters will also decide on four citizen-initiated measures. In Maine, citizens cannot refer constitutional amendments to the ballot but can place state statutes on the ballot through the indirect initiative process. This means that after a citizen initiative campaign submits enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the initiative first goes to the legislature. If the legislature approves the initiative, the initiative becomes law. If the legislature does not approve the initiative, or if the governor vetoes the initiative, it goes to the ballot for Maine voters to decide.
The indirect initiated state statutes Maine voters will decide in November are:
- Question 1, which would require voter approval for certain entities or utilities that incur a total outstanding debt that exceeds $1 billion
- Question 2, which would prohibit election spending by foreign governments
- Question 3, which would create Pine Tree Power Company, a municipal electric utility, and would allow the company to purchase and acquire all investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities in Maine
- Question 4, which would allow motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities to have access to the vehicle on-board diagnostic systems
Of the 249 ballot measures Maine voters decided between 1985 and 2022, 186 (74.7%) measures were approved, and 63 (25.3%) were defeated.