The Maine Legislature is again attempting to limit the citizen petition process. It is no secret that Gov. Paul LePage and some members of the Maine House and Senate are not happy with the citizen petition process. They feel that the time-consuming process for gathering signatures is too easy for out-of-state interests with money. However, the special interests did not stop the citizens of Maine from recently overwhelmingly voting down a proposed casino in York County, despite all of the out-of-state and out-of-country money that was spent.

L.D. 31 is a proposed amendment to the Maine Constitution that would require that the number of signatures from each congressional district be not less than 10 percent of the total vote for governor cast in that congressional district in the previous gubernatorial election. This will pit northern Maine against southern Maine, much to the delight of some legislators whose only goal is to slow down or even eliminate the citizen petition process as it becomes too troublesome to enact the will of the people.

Apparently, the will of the people must be thwarted at all costs as the residents of northern Maine, presumably more conservative than the residents of southern Maine, could conceivably stop a petition from being put in front of the voters. We need to remember that no matter who puts a petition on the ballot, all of the citizens have an opportunity to vote. When we start rigging the system to prevent certain issues from reaching the ballot box, we are undermining democracy.

Let’s not let this happen. The citizen petition process has worked well in Maine for over 100 years. Let’s not tinker with success. Contact your elected officials and urge them to vote no on L.D. 31. Your voice matters.

Val Philbrick


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