Windham Lawmaker Proposes To Exempt 'People's Veto' Votes From Presidential Primaries

Aug 13, 2019

Maine state Rep. Patrick Corey, a Republican from Windham, has filed legislation that would exempt "people's veto'' votes from presidential primary elections.

That's after two groups leading people's veto campaigns to overturn new legislation say the Secretary of State's Office gave them incorrect information on the date of the next statewide election, causing them to plan differently than they would have otherwise.

The Secretary of State's Office had told the campaign leaders that the questions, if determined eligible, would go to ballot in June. But under a new law, they'll actually go to the ballot in March - the day of Maine's first presidential primary.

The office has admitted the error - but a spokeswoman says it doesn't typically talk with campaigns about timing at all until after it's been determined that a petition for a people's veto vote is valid. She also said that the office has no discretion over when votes are scheduled.

Citizen petitioners say a heavily Democratic turnout at the primary could hurt their effort. The laws they want to overturn include one that bans "conversion therapy," another that allows doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients, and one that funds abortion services with state Medicaid funds.

There's also a people's veto effort to repeal the new law creating a presidential primary system in Maine - the very reason for the March election.

Rep. Corey's proposal won't be considered now because the Legislature is not in session.