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Home > News > Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap's Statement on Court Decision

April 4, 2006
Contact: Matthew Dunlap

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap's Statement on Court Decision
Taxpayer Bill of Rights Citizen Initiative

“As Maine's chief elections officer, I take guidance from Maine's Constitution and Revised Statutes.  In this particular case, there appeared to be a conflict between the two documents in terms of deadlines and requirements.  My decision therefore was to follow prior court rulings encouraging an interpretation of law that facilitates the people's right to legislate through the citizen initiative process.

It is entirely appropriate for citizens to petition the court in order to seek clarification of laws and the Constitution related to whether late-filed petitions—which have been signed, sworn and notarized prior to the one year circulation deadline—can be accepted. 

Much of Maine's law is informed by successive court interpretations, so I welcome this opportunity to further clarify statutory provisions of Maine election law, and I thank the court for giving this matter a thorough review.  I am evaluating the Superior Court decision with my staff at the Elections Division and with the Attorney General to determine if further action is necessary.”