Maine State Rep. Stanley Short (D-Pittsfield) is introducing legislation on behalf of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a pro-hunting group, to regulate and restrict non-resident paid petitioners. The text of the bill has yet to be released, but reports say it will ban out-of-state petitioners and require paid-petitioners to register with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices and to wear a special ID badge on their persons while petitioning.
An effort in Woburn, Massachusetts, to help educate area voters on the effects of future ballot measures and referendum questions has hit a snag in the City Council’s Liaison Committee. Disagreements over the issue of who would write the summaries describing each ballot issue and who would approve that text have put any action on hold for now.
The issue arose after a 2014 local referendum on the adoption of a “Community Preservation Act,” which election officials were not allowed to explain to voters for the sake of neutrality. The measure ultimately failed, but inspired City Clerk William Campbell to push for some method by which voters could be better informed about ballot questions.
The low turnout of voters in the recent mid-term elections disappointed quite a few folks throughout the country. Those seeking to qualify initiatives for the 2016 ballot, however, have something to cheer about. With fewer votes being cast come lower thresholds for signature requirements in many initiative states, especially in initiative heavy-weight California, where the signature requirement has dropped to the lowest raw number in 25 years.