Thursday, September 21, 2023

Citizen's Guide to the 2023 Maine Referendum Election now available online

AUGUSTA — As Election Day nears on Nov. 7, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is reminding all Maine voters of a non-partisan resource that can help them make informed decisions at the polls: the 2023 Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election.

The guide, prepared by the Department of the Secretary of State in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General and Office of Fiscal and Program Review, is an unbiased and non-partisan review of the issues that voters will consider at the polls this November. It is available on the Secretary of State’s website at Copies of the guide are also printed and distributed to municipal offices and public libraries throughout the state.

“Maine voters are being asked to weigh in on a number of consequential questions this November,” said Secretary Bellows. “This guide will help voters make their own decisions about how to vote with full, fair information about each ballot question. We encourage everyone to act now to learn about the upcoming referendum election and get ready to vote!”

The Citizens Guide provides detailed information about each question on the November ballot. Voters can see the legislation behind this year’s ballot issues, as well as analysis of the intent and content of each question. Election law also allows for citizen advocacy statements to be published supporting or opposing questions, which provides voters with those viewpoints to consider.

Voters will decide on four citizens’ initiatives and four constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot:

QUESTION 1: Do you want to bar some quasi-governmental entities and all consumer-owned electric utilities from taking on more than $1 billion in debt unless they get statewide voter approval?

QUESTION 2: Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?

QUESTION 3: Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?

QUESTION 4: Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?

QUESTION 5: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the time period for judicial review of the validity of written petitions from within 100 days from the date of filing to within 100 business days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed within 30 calendar days before or after a general election?

QUESTION 6: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?

QUESTION 7: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision requiring a circulator of a citizen's initiative or people's veto petition to be a resident of Maine and a registered voter in Maine, requirements that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court?

QUESTION 8: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision prohibiting a person under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting for Governor, Senators and Representatives, which the United States District Court for the District of Maine found violates the United States Constitution and federal law?

Voters are encouraged to use the Citizens’ Guide to educate themselves about each question before casting a ballot. Voters can cast their ballot at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023 or they can request absentee ballots from their municipal clerk or online via the Secretary of State’s website at