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Maine Constitution Rules For Posting Bond Question On Ballot !


UPDATE! I just voted in Boothbay, Maine, where the bond questions on the ballot are not compliant with what is essential for the validity of the bonds to be issued pursuant to the Maine Constitution. None of the requirements set forth in Article IX Section 14 were on the ballot. Only the total amount of the bond debt and the interest is listed with each bond question. This means that constitutionally, what ever the outcome of the vote, the enactment of the bonds cannot be ratified.

Article IX.

General Provisions.

Section 14.  Authority and procedure for issuance of bonds. 

........Whenever ratification by the electors is essential to the validity of bonds to be issued on behalf of the State, the question submitted to the electors shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the total amount of bonds of the State outstanding and unpaid, the total amount of bonds of the State authorized and unissued, and the total amount of bonds of the State contemplated to be issued if the enactment submitted to the electors be ratified......... 

I believe I have found how our legislature has devised a way around this. The Constitution only says that the questions "
shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth".. and does not say specifically how that is to be done.

2. Election materials distributed and posted.   At any time after the materials are received and before the polls are open, the clerk may open the packages or boxes of election materials, break the seals on the packages not marked "ballots," and use the materials for instructional purposes. The election officials shall post one instruction poster in each voting booth and at least one instruction poster outside the guardrail where it is visible to voters before they have voted. The election officials shall also post one set of sample ballots or one set of sample ballot labels for each ballot being used in that voting place, along with one poster of the constitutional resolutions and statewide referenda, outside the guardrail where they are visible to voters. The election officials shall post a list of any declared write-in candidates for that voting district, with the office sought, next to the sample ballot. On election day, the clerk or the election officials must post the voter instructional materials described in section 605-A, if applicable to the election, as follows:A In each voting booth: one voting instruction poster prepared under section 605-A; andB Outside the guardrail enclosure at each voting place:(1) At least one voting instruction poster prepared under section 605-A;(2) One set of sample ballots for each ballot style being used in that voting place;(3) A list of any declared write-in candidates for that voting district, with the office sought, next to the sample ballots;(4) One voting rights poster or notice prepared under section 605-A;(5) One election penalty poster or notice prepared under section 605-A;(6) One Treasurer's Statement prepared under Title 5, section 152;(7) One citizen's guide to the referendum election prepared under section 605-A; and(8) One copy of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review's estimate of the fiscal impact prepared under Title 1, section 353.

 The above was signed into law in 2011. From what I am reading it looks to say that the information required by the constitution to be accompanied to the bond questions will be posted "outside the guardrail enclosure" which in Boothbay would be the hallway where people are standing in line to vote. I personally do not recall seeing such a notice but of course I wasn't looking for it there- I expected it to be accompanied to the question as is stated in the constitution. I personally would not qualify a poster in a completely different location- in fact out side the guard rail of the voting area to satisfy the description that the information accompanies the question. Clearly it does not.

Are the voters expected to stand out in the hallway and read the information before going into the voting area? I saw no one doing any such thing, nor do I recall noticing any thing posted on the walls, but I have written to the town manager requesting whatever information was provided regarding the bonds, how it was provided, and how the voter was informed about its availability.

If the legislature and the administration were really interested  in acting in truth with the intent of the constitution, they would provide that the information be made available to the public in advance of the election on the internet and in the media as well as CLEARLY accompanying the questions on the ballot on printed form.

An Act To Amend the Election Laws and Other Related Laws
D.The Treasurer's Statement must be prepared according to Title 5, section 152 to accompany ballots containing any statewide bond issues. The Secretary of State  must include written instructions on each referendum ballot that indicate where the voter may view the Treasurer's Statement on the Secretary of State's publicly accessible website. -so one has to be sure to bring an i-phone to the voting booth because the state can't print up the required information on paper for the voters convenience!

But it is apparent that our legislature is more interested in figuring out the minimum that they can do to pretend that they are complying with the constitutional intent- and that might have something to do with the fact that are legislature is, in practice, more a board of the corporation of Maine than they are representatives of the people of this state

I am feeling very victimized by our legislature and Governor. They have passed a statute to change the intended meaning of the constitution for if "outside the guardrail" can be interpreted as satisfying "accompanying the bond question", it can equally be interpreted to mean "anywhere except in the voting area", which is where the bond question is found. The legislature and the Governor have passed an intentional  run around the constitution. knowing that unless challenged in court, whatever statutes they pass are the law of the land, even if it is also a violation or will full obstruction of constitutional intent.


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