This referendum asks whether Maine voters want to reject or accept amendments to the state's voter registration laws, enacted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor in June 2011, that repeal existing law permitting election day registration.
The amendments, enacted as Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011, eliminate the option of election day registration and instead require a voter who wishes to register to vote to do so more than two business days prior to the election. For a primary, general or special election held on a Tuesday, this means the voter would have to register to vote in person at the municipal office no later than the close of business on the Thursday before election day. (Voters also may register to vote by submitting an application by mail or through a 3rd person, including a social service or motor vehicle agency, provided the municipal office receives the application by the close of business on the 21st day prior to the election. Chapter 399 does not change this provision of existing law.) A voter who is already registered to vote in the municipality but who has moved to a new address within the municipality would still be allowed to change that registration address on or before election day.
Chapter 399 also establishes a procedure for provisional voting, which enables a person to cast a provisional ballot on election day if the person's name is not on the incoming voting list in the municipality but the person declares that he or she is a registered voter in that municipality and eligible to vote in a federal election. In order to obtain a provisional ballot, the voter must make a sworn statement to this effect and must show proof of identity and current residency in that municipality. (Under existing law, a voter in such circumstances would be allowed to register to vote on election day and cast a regular ballot.) A provisional ballot is counted as a regular ballot if the municipal clerk or registrar is able to confirm the voters eligibility to vote in that jurisdiction no later than three business days after the election.
After the legislation making the above changes was enacted in June 2011, petitioners collected a sufficient number of signatures of registered voters to refer certain sections of the legislation to the people for a vote at a statewide election. The effect of these sections of Chapter 399 has been suspended pending the outcome of the election. Other provisions of Chapter 399 that amended Maine laws relating to absentee voting were not included in the referendum petition and thus have already taken effect.
A "YES" vote is to reject these amendments to Maine's voter registration laws and thereby allow election-day registration to continue.
A "NO" vote is to accept these amendments to Maine's voter registration laws and thereby require voters to register to vote at least two business days before an election.
Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?