An Act To Amend the Election Laws and Other Related Laws
Sec. 1. 1 MRSA §353, as amended by PL 2009, c. 538, §1, is further amended to read:
§ 353. Explanation of proposed amendments and statewide referenda
With the assistance of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General shall prepare a brief explanatory statement that must fairly describe the intent and content and what a "yes" vote favors and a "no" vote opposes for each direct initiative, bond issue, constitutional resolution or statewide referendum that may be presented to the people and that must include any information prepared by the Treasurer of State under Title 5, section 152. The explanatory statement may not include comments of proponents or opponents as provided by section 354. In addition to the explanatory statement, the The Office of Fiscal and Program Review shall prepare an estimate of the fiscal impact of each constitutional resolution or statewide referendum on state revenues, appropriations and allocations of each measure that may appear on the ballot, within the following time frames: for a direct initiative, within 15 business days after the receipt of the application and full text of the proposed law by the applicant has given consent to the Secretary of State for the final language of the proposed law; and for a statewide referendum, bond issue or constitutional resolution, within 30 days after adjournment of the legislative session in which the measure was passed. The fiscal impact estimate must summarize the aggregate impact that the constitutional resolution or , statewide referendum , direct initiative or bond issue will have on the General Fund, the Highway Fund, Other Special Revenue Funds and the amounts distributed by the State to local units of government.
Sec. 2. 1 MRSA §354, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 316, §2, is amended to read:
§ 354. Public comment on proposed amendments and statewide referenda; rules; fees
The Secretary of State shall adopt rules regarding the publication of public comment by proponents and opponents of direct initiatives, bond issues, constitutional resolutions or statewide referenda. These rules must include, but are not limited to, a word limit, the labeling of public comment as supporting or opposing a measure and the identification of the person or persons responsible for the comment. Rules adopted pursuant to this section are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A. Beginning with the November 2006 election and every election thereafter, the Secretary of State shall publish the public comment, along with the explanatory statement and fiscal estimate required under section 353, on a publicly accessible site on the Internet and in pamphlets distributed to the municipalities of the State. A person filing a public comment for publication shall pay a fee of $500 to the Secretary of State. Fees collected pursuant to this section must be deposited in the Public Comment Publication Fund established under Title 5, section 90-D.
Sec. 3. 5 MRSA §152, as amended by PL 2007, c. 515, §1, is further amended to read:
§ 152. Ratification of bond issue; signed statement
In accordance with the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, section 14, the Treasurer of State shall prepare a signed statement , called the Treasurer's Statement, to accompany any question submitted to the electors for ratification of a bond issue 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 should be ratified. The Treasurer of State shall also set forth in that statement an estimate of costs involved, including explanation of, based on such factors as interest rates that may vary, the interest cost contemplated to be paid on the amount to be issued, the total cost of principal and interest that will be paid at maturity and any other substantive explanatory information relating to the debt of the State as the Treasurer of State considers appropriate. To meet the requirement that the signed statement of the Treasurer of State accompany any ballot question for ratification of a bond issue, the statement may be printed on the ballot or it may be printed as a separate document that is posted in each voting booth on election day and, in the case of absentee voting, the statement must be made available to each voter who votes in the presence of the municipal clerk or provided along with the ballot to each absentee voter who does not vote in the presence of the municipal clerk voters as provided in Title 21-A, sections 605 and 651.
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §1, sub-§21, as amended by PL 2007, c. 515, §2, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §22, sub-§7 is enacted to read:
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §23, sub-§7, as amended by PL 1985, c. 383, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 7. 21-A MRSA §23, sub-§7-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 8. 21-A MRSA §155, first ¶, as amended by PL 2005, c. 453, §30, is further amended to read:
The registrar shall conditionally accept the registration and enrollment of any person who is 17 years of age and will attain 18 years of age by the next election, and who is otherwise qualified to be a voter. The conditional registration automatically becomes effective on the person's 18th birthday and the registrant then is eligible to vote.
Sec. 9. 21-A MRSA §337, sub-§2, ¶D, as amended by PL 2003, c. 447, §11, is further amended to read:
Sec. 10. 21-A MRSA §356, sub-§2, ¶D, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §22, is further amended to read:
Sec. 11. 21-A MRSA §371, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §15, is further amended to read:
§ 371. Candidates for nomination; vacancy
If a candidate for nomination dies, withdraws at least 60 days before the primary or becomes disqualified after having filed the candidate's primary petition, so that a party has fewer candidates than there are offices to be filled, the vacancy may be filled by a political committee pursuant to section 363. The Secretary of State shall declare the vacancy pursuant to section 362-A. A candidate for nomination may not withdraw less than 60 days before the primary election. Less than 60 days before the primary election, a candidate may withdraw from the primary by providing a written notice to the Secretary of State that the candidate is withdrawing and will not serve if elected. The candidate's name will not be removed from the ballot, but upon receipt of the notice of late withdrawal, the Secretary of State shall instruct the local election officials in the candidate's electoral district to distribute notices with absentee ballots requested after that date and to post a notice at each voting place in the district informing voters that the candidate has withdrawn and that a vote for that candidate will not be counted. Notice of the late withdrawal must also be posted on the Secretary of State's publicly accessible website.
Sec. 12. 21-A MRSA §374-A, sub-§1, ¶A, as amended by PL 1993, c. 447, §4, is further amended to read:
Sec. 13. 21-A MRSA §374-A, sub-§3, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 455, §16, is amended to read:
Sec. 14. 21-A MRSA §605, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §22, is repealed.
Sec. 15. 21-A MRSA §605-A is enacted to read:
§ 605-A. Instructions
Each municipality must post the voter instructional materials as described in section 651.
Sec. 16. 21-A MRSA §606, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §23, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
§ 606. Official ballots
Within a reasonable time before any election, the Secretary of State shall furnish each municipality with official ballots to be used for absentee voting and for voting on election day.
Sec. 17. 21-A MRSA §609 is enacted to read:
§ 609. Ballot security materials
The Secretary of State shall furnish each municipality with tamper-proof ballot security containers and locks, which must be used for securing used ballots and other election materials for statewide elections conducted under this Title. If a state-supplied container or lock becomes defective, lost or destroyed, the clerk must apply in writing to the Secretary of State for a replacement. The Secretary of State shall supply or approve a replacement at the expense of the municipality. If a municipality wishes to use a tamper-proof ballot security container to seal municipal election ballots and materials, that municipality must obtain the container and lock at its own expense. For each election, the Secretary of State also must furnish uniquely numbered seals to be used to secure the containers.
Sec. 18. 21-A MRSA §626, sub-§1, as amended by PL 1997, c. 436, §88, is further amended to read:
Sec. 19. 21-A MRSA §629, sub-§1, ¶D-1, as amended by PL 2009, c. 538, §8, is repealed.
Sec. 20. 21-A MRSA §629, sub-§3, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §52, is further amended to read:
Sec. 21. 21-A MRSA §631-A, sub-§3 is enacted to read:
Sec. 22. 21-A MRSA §651, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §25, is further amended to read:
(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.
Sec. 23. 21-A MRSA §674, sub-§1, ¶B-2, as enacted by PL 2003, c. 447, §15, is amended to read:
Sec. 24. 21-A MRSA §674, sub-§1, ¶C, as repealed and replaced by PL 1993, c. 473, §18 and affected by §46, is amended to read:
Sec. 25. 21-A MRSA §674, sub-§1, ¶D, as repealed and replaced by PL 1993, c. 473, §18 and affected by §46, is repealed.
Sec. 26. 21-A MRSA §674, sub-§2, ¶A, as amended by PL 2003, c. 447, §16, is further amended to read:
Sec. 27. 21-A MRSA §674, sub-§2, ¶E is enacted to read:
Sec. 28. 21-A MRSA §696, sub-§6, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §33, is further amended to read:
Sec. 29. 21-A MRSA §698, sub-§2-A, as amended by PL 2005, c. 568, §17, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
The sealed tamper-proof ballot security containers of used ballots must remain sealed for at least 2 months after the election, unless the Secretary of State authorizes the clerk to open the containers prior to that date. After 2 months, the clerk shall open the containers in the presence of one or more witnesses and transfer the ballots to other containers for the remainder of the retention period described in section 23. The new containers must be securely sealed.
Sec. 30. 21-A MRSA §698, sub-§3-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 31. 21-A MRSA §711, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
Sec. 32. 21-A MRSA §854, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §106, is further amended to read:
§ 854. Test of electronic tabulating equipment
The clerk shall have the electronic tabulating equipment tested prior to the polls opening to ascertain that it accurately counts the votes cast for all offices and on all measures. The test must be conducted by processing a preaudited group of ballots marked to record a predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and on each measure. In the presence of one or more witnesses, the clerk shall clearly mark each ballot used for testing with the word "TEST" across the front side of the ballot in black or blue indelible ink. The test must include one or more ballots that have votes for each office in excess of the number allowed by law in order to test the ability of the electronic tabulating equipment to reject those votes. In this test, valid votes must be assigned to each candidate for an office and for and against each measure. If any error is detected, the cause for the error must be ascertained and corrected and an errorless count must be made and certified by the clerk before the polls open on election day. The test ballots , the hand tally and the tapes generated as a result of the tests must be packed and sealed in a container labeled "Test Ballots." The container must remain sealed until for at least 60 days 2 months after the election, unless needed for recount purposes. The tests provided for in this section must be open to the public.
Sec. 33. 21-A MRSA §902, 2nd ¶, as amended by PL 2009, c. 611, §2, is further amended to read:
The petitions must be signed, verified and certified in the same manner as are nonparty nomination petitions under section 354, subsections 3 and 4 and subsection 7, paragraphs A and C. The circulator of a petition must sign the petition and verify the petition by oath or affirmation as described in section 354, subsection 7, paragraph A prior to submitting the petition to the registrar. If the petitions submitted to the registrar are not signed and verified in accordance with this paragraph, the registrar may not certify the petitions and is required only to return the petitions. The clerk or registrar shall keep a log of petitions submitted to the municipal office for verification. The log must contain the title of the petition, the name of the person submitting the petition, the date of submission, the number of petition forms submitted and the date and manner by which the petitions were returned.
Sec. 34. 30-A MRSA §371-B, sub-§3, ¶C, as repealed and replaced by PL 1997, c. 562, Pt. D, §6 and affected by §11, is amended to read:
Sec. 35. 30-A MRSA §371-B, sub-§3, ¶D, as amended by PL 1999, c. 338, §1, is further amended to read:
(1) Met the basic law enforcement training standards under Title 25, section 2804-C; or
(2) Met the basic corrections training standards under Title 25, section 2804-D and has 5 years of supervisory employment experience. ; and
Sec. 36. 30-A MRSA §371-B, sub-§3, ¶E is enacted to read:
This bill clarifies the requirements for the information that is created to help voters understand ballot questions, including the Attorney General's explanatory statement of what a "yes" vote favors and what a "no" vote opposes; the Office of Fiscal and Program Review's estimate of the fiscal impact on state revenues, appropriations and allocations of each ballot measure; and the Treasurer's Statement that accompanies each bond issue. This bill reorganizes the section on retention of election materials so that the incoming voting list is addressed separately from the ballots. The bill adds a voter's year of birth to the information that must be included on the incoming voting list and specifies that the incoming voting list is a public record after it is unsealed following the election. This bill reorganizes and enhances the sections of law governing the instructions that the Secretary of State must prepare for election officials and voters and details how informational materials must be made available to the voters. The bill clarifies the sections dealing with candidate withdrawals less than 60 days before a primary or general election. The bill also reorganizes the section of law governing how official ballots are provided to municipalities and specifies how the chain of custody must be maintained. This bill reorganizes the section of law governing how voted ballots are sealed and secured following the election and creates a separate section to describe the ballot security materials supplied by the Secretary of State. The bill creates a new requirement that a municipality must apply to the Secretary of State at least 60 days before an election to change the location of a voting place. The bill makes explicit that it is a crime for a person who is entrusted with another voter's marked ballot to disclose the contents of that ballot to another person. The bill also provides that absentee envelopes and applications are to be sealed separately from the ballots so that they become public records after they are unsealed. The bill permits the Secretary of State to authorize the municipal clerk, in the presence of the warden and an election clerk from each of the major parties, to open the sealed ballot security containers after an election for specific, limited purposes. The bill requires the municipal clerk or registrar to keep a log of the petitions that are submitted to the municipal office for certification. The bill also clarifies the supervisory experience required for candidates for the office of sheriff. The bill makes other routine or technical changes.