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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: December 20, 2020

This is a brief overview of the ballot initiative process in the state of Maine at the state and local levels.

Statutory Ballot Initiatives Only in Maine

Maine’s state constitution allows for statutory initiatives but does not allow for constitutional amendment initiatives. 

According to Article X, Section 4, the state constitution may only be amended through the state legislature. Article IV, Part Third, Sections 18-20, 22 provides a detailed description of the direct initiative process.

Most importantly, any registered Maine voter may circulate a petition for a statutory initiative. 

The petitioner will submit the proposed initiative to the Secretary of State. Then, within 15 days of receiving the proposed initiative, the Secretary of State accepts, rejects, or revises the proposal. 

If approved, then the petitioner has 18 months to circulate it. You will need circulators that are registered Maine voters.

Finally, for details on filing a ballot initiative in Maine, including timeframes and signature requirements, refer to the Secretary of State website.

Ballot Initiatives at the Local Level

Lastly, Maine’s state constitution has provisions for the initiative process at the local level. Article IV, Part Third, Section 21 gives city council the right to establish the direct initiative process in their city. 

For specific details regarding the initiative process within your city, please refer to your local city council. To file an initiative in your state, contact us.