Target: Secretary of State of Maine Matthew Dunlap
Goal: Don’t disqualify marijuana legalization initiative based solely on subjective visual evaluation of signatures.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol obtained over 99,000 signatures from Maine voters to put an initiative on the November ballot that would legalize recreational marijuana use within the state. Even though the group obtained more than enough signatures, Matthew Dunlap, the Secretary of State of Maine, invalidated nearly one-third of them under questionable circumstances.
According to Article IV, Part 3, Section 18 of the Maine Constitution, the citizens of Maine can initiate legislation through indirect initiative, so long as they gather enough signatures supporting said initiative, a total that is at least ten percent of the total votes cast for the state’s governor in the gubernatorial election preceding the petition. The total number of signatures needed for the legalization campaign’s petition was 61,123.
According to Secretary of State Dunlap’s office, over 31,000 public signatures were deemed invalid because the petition circulator or notary signatures did not match corresponding signatures on file. A lawsuit filed Thursday, March 10, 2016, by the legalization campaign alleges that Dunlap did not review every notary signature he invalidated, instead reviewed a portion of the signatures and then disqualified all petitions signed by those notaries.
When coupled with 13,525 invalidated signatures on grounds they did not belong to a registered voter in the municipality where they were submitted, the total number of valid signatures falls below the necessary 61,123 needed to put the initiative on the ballot.
Dear Secretary of State Dunlap,
According to the Maine Constitution, registered voters in Maine have expressed enough support for marijuana legalization for the topic to appear on the November ballot. Your insistence that over 31,000 public signatures are invalid because of your own subjective visual evaluation of alleged signature discrepancies is insufficient evidence to prove those signatures are actually invalid.
We urge you to support the registered voters of Maine in participating in their government in a constitutionally protected way. We urge you not to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Maine voters based solely upon a subjective view of signatures. We urge you to do what is right and let this initiative process continue, for your residents have spoken and your position, as a civil servant, is to serve them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Aesylves