House Democrats Vote To Silence Rural Maine Voters
Tuesday, Democrats in the Maine House killed a bill that would have asked Maine voters if they wanted to allow Mainers living in the Second Congressional District to have a say in the referendum questions that appear on the ballot.
LD 31 would have asked voters if they want to amend the Maine Constitution to require that an equal number of signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot come from both the First and Second Congressional Districts. Had it passed the House today, the decision to amend the Maine Constitution would have been left up to the voters in November.
24 states allow for citizen initiated referendums and 12 of those states have geographical requirements when it comes to collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Every election cycle, we are seeing more and more referendum questions appearing on the ballot. It takes roughly 61,000 signatures to get these questions on the ballot and these paid signatures gatherers are rarely, if ever, spotted north of Augusta.
“House Democrats have been screaming for the past two years about the ‘will of the voters’ and I find it shameful and hypocritical that they just voted to silence the will of the voters in half the state,” said Assistant House Republican Leader Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, sponsor of LD 31. “This bill would have allowed the people of Maine to decide whether or not they want to make changes to the referendum process and Democrats in the House chose to make that decision for them. Once again, Maine Democrats think they know better than the people they represent. It could be argued that the Democrats’ vote today amounts to nothing more than voter suppression.”