A Maine legalization initiative backed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has failed to qualify for November’s ballot.
David Boyer, Maine political director for the MPP, said on Wednesday that the group plans to challenge the ruling. He explained the situation in the following written statement:
“We are very disappointed by the Secretary of State’s determination. Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary — whose notary commission has not expired — did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary. We are exploring all legal means available to appeal this determination, and we sincerely hope that 17,000-plus Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality.”
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said that only 51,543 of the 99,229 submitted signatures could be validated — significantly less than the 61,123 signatures it would have required to qualify for the upcoming election. According to Dunlap, about 31,000 were invalid because of faulty signatures (either on the petition circulators’ or notary’s part), about 13,500 individuals were invalidated for not being registered voters in Maine, and the rest for additional paperwork errors and for signatures that could not be verified.
“We are going to fight to ensure that the 17,000 Maine voters whose signatures are in question have their voice heard, as well as the tens of thousands of other Mainers whose voices will be silenced if this doesn’t make the ballot,” said State Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland), a longtime supporter of ending cannabis prohibition.
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