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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2007
Contact: Matthew Dunlap
207-626-8400

Secretary of State Matthew Verifies Enough Signatures to Place
Washington County Tribal Racino Initiative Before the Maine Legislature

AUGUSTA, MAINE -- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Wednesday that enough valid signatures have been submitted to place “An Act to Authorize a Tribal Commercial Track and Slot Machines in Washington County” before Maine lawmakers during the First Regular Session of the 123rd Legislature. If the Legislature fails to approve the measure, it will send it out to the voters either in a special election or as a ballot question on the November 6, 2007 General Election ballot.

The number of valid signatures required for this action was 50,519 (10% of the votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election of 2002). Secretary of State Dunlap announced that 51,096 signatures have been accepted, while 17,836 were rejected.

The question reads: “Do you want to allow a Maine tribe to run a harness racing track with slot machines and high-stakes beano games in Washington County?”

“This determination follows a careful review of petitions containing nearly 69,000 signatures,” said Dunlap. “The staff in Maine's Elections Division, as well as officials on the local level, deserve much credit for their thoroughness and diligence in their review of the petitions. The verification and certification process is laborious and precise work, with the right of a citizen to legitimately petition their government hanging in the balance,” Dunlap commented. He also thanked the petitioners for working to ensure the integrity of their effort by alerting Elections staff to potential problems in submitted petitions. “The policy will now be debated by the Legislature and the public,” Dunlap said. “I am very pleased with the extraordinary efforts to ensure the legitimacy of this instrument of petition.”

As a result of today’s decision, the legislation will be transmitted to the Legislature for consideration. A five day period of challenges to this ruling is also underway. Article IV, Part Third, Sections 18, 19, 20, and 22 of the Maine Constitution and Title 21-A, Chapter 11 address the procedures relative to initiative legislation. Additional information about the Citizen Initiative process is available online at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/initpak.htm.

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STATE OF MAINE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY
OF A PETITION FOR INITIATED LEGISLATION ENTITLED:

“An Act to Authorize a Tribal Commercial Track and Slot Machines in Washington County”

  1. Petitioners filed petitions containing 68,932 signatures with the Secretary of State pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 on behalf of the initiated legislation entitled, “An Act to Authorize a Tribal Commercial Track and Slot Machines in Washington County” as of August 15, 2006. These included petitions which were already on file as of January 31, 2006, plus new petitions submitted on July 10, 2006, August 3, 2006 and August 15, 2006.

  2. Based upon a consolidated review of the petitions which were previously submitted and the additional petitions submitted for review, I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:
  A. 8,785 signatures are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality.
  B. 4,743 signatures are invalid because the circulator’s oath could not be relied upon or was not properly completed.  
  C. 2,792 signatures are invalid because they are duplicates of signatures already counted.
  D. 519 signatures are invalid because the voter’s signature was withdrawn from the petition.
  E. 367 signatures are invalid because the voter dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator’s oath before the notary.
  F. 223 signatures are invalid because the voter’s signature was made by another.
  G. 139 signatures are invalid because the residency status of 1 circulator could not be confirmed.  (29 signatures found invalid for other reasons are also invalid for this reason.)
  H. 98 signatures are invalid because the petition was not on the approved form.
  I. 91 signatures are invalid because the voter failed to provide a signature.
  J. 73 signatures are invalid because of material alterations to the petition.
  K. 6 signatures are invalid because the certification of the registrar was not completed.

 

  1. For the reasons set forth above, I find that 17,836 signatures are invalid. Petitioners have therefore submitted 51,096 valid signatures. The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 50,519. As petitioners have submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures, I find the petition to be valid.

Dated:   January 17, 2007

 

_______________________________
Matthew Dunlap
Secretary of State