January 31, 2023


Secretary Bellows Announces Final Wording on Two Referendum Questions

AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows announced the final wording of two referendum questions on Monday.

The wording of the citizens’ initiative question entitled “An Act To Create the Pine Tree Power Company, a Nonprofit, Customer-owned Utility” will be:

“Do you want to create a new quasi-governmental power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?” (Please note that the question wording was changed, following a court challenge. Click here for the updated wording.)

The wording of the citizens’ initiative question entitled “An Act To Prohibit Campaign Spending by Foreign Governments and Promote an Anticorruption Amendment to the United States Constitution” will be:

“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?”

The full text of the proposed bills is available for viewing on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions’ Citizens’ Initiatives webpage, along with proponent information.

Secretary Bellows received 168 comments on the proposed Pine Tree Power ballot question and 4 comments on the campaign spending ballot question during the 30-day public comment period, which was open December 21 through January 20. These comments, from individuals and organizations throughout the state, were taken into consideration to draft the final language of each ballot question.

“Citizen initiatives are a constitutionally-protected part of Maine’s democratic process,” said Secretary Bellows. “The issues that Maine citizens have asked their fellow voters to consider are weighty and complex, which is reflected in the wording of the questions.”

Both initiatives have gone to the Legislature for consideration, per the provisions of the Maine Constitution. The Legislature can choose to enact the bills as written or to send them forward to a statewide vote in November 2023.

The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions will be creating a Citizens’ Guide to the 2023 Election in the coming months and all voters are encouraged to read it to inform themselves of the details of the bills.

In addition to the citizens’ initiative question, the November Referendum Election ballot may also include bond issues, Constitutional Resolutions or other referenda questions that the Legislature chooses to send to the voters. Any such ballot questions will be included on the Upcoming Elections page.

For more information about the November 2023 election, visit Information on voter registration and locating your polling place can also be found on the Corporations, Elections and Commissions website.