Organizers Of 'People's Veto' Initiatives Consider Suing Maine Secretary of State's Office

Aug 10, 2019

The organizers of three "People's Veto" initiatives say their efforts have been complicated — and potentially harmed — because of incorrect information given by the Secretary Of State's office.

The Chrisian Civic League of Maine is leading the campaigns to overturn two laws — one that allows doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients and another that funds abortion services with state Medicaid funds.

Policy Director Mike McLellan says the league was told that if they qualified for the ballot, the questions would be put to voters in June.

“We made decisions clearly because we thought the June of 2020 election seemed to meet a lot of our needs and was advantageous,” says Mclellan. “We had five or six options ahead of us, and we chose given what we understood from the Secretary of State's Office.”

The Secretary Of State now says the initiatives would go in the new presidential primary in March, which will draw a heavier turnout of democrats, who McLellan says would be less supportive of the cause.

Maine's Secretary of State's Office admits that it did err in giving the backers of several "people's veto" initiatives incorrect information about the timing of the first election in 2020 , but spokesperson Kristen Muszynski says the intitiatives haven't even qualified for the ballot as of this point.

“We normally don't address the timing of when the election will take place until the petition has been submitted and we deemed it valid, and we go over some of those details at that time with the petitioners and we hadn't gotten to that point yet,” says Muszynski.

McClellan says although he doesn't believe there was any bad intention, the civic league is consulting with its legal team and is considering suing the state to change the date.