An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Elections
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §23, sub-§5, as amended by PL 2005, c. 453, §7, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §23, sub-§7, as amended by PL 2011, c. 534, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §103, first ¶, as amended by PL 2005, c. 453, §9, is further amended to read:
In a city or town that has a population of 5,000 or more, if a person is aggrieved by the decision of the registrar of voters to cancel that person's registration in the central voter registration system or to reject that person's voter registration application, that person may appeal in writing to the registration appeals board. The appeal must be filed within 30 days after receipt of notice of the registrar's decision.
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §163, first ¶, as amended by PL 2009, c. 253, §15, is further amended to read:
In a municipality that does not have a registration appeals board, if a person is aggrieved by the decision of the registrar of voters to cancel that person's registration in the central voter registration system or to reject that person's registration application, the person may appeal in writing to the municipal officers by filing a complaint. The appeal must be filed within 30 days after receipt of notice of the registrar's decision. The municipal officers shall immediately fix a time and place for a prompt hearing. The voter must be given written notice of the hearing at least 20 days in advance and must have the opportunity to testify and to present witnesses and other evidence at the hearing. The hearing is de novo. After hearing, the municipal officers may affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the registrar of voters. The municipal officers shall issue the decision to the voter in writing and shall provide information on how the voter may appeal the decision. The aggrieved person may appeal the decision of the municipal officers to the Superior Court in accordance with Rule 80B of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §335, sub-§1, ¶A, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §354, sub-§1, ¶A, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 7. 21-A MRSA §365, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1985, c. 161, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 21-A MRSA §601, sub-§2, ¶C, as amended by PL 2001, c. 310, §29, is further amended to read:
Sec. 9. 21-A MRSA §601, sub-§2, ¶H, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §18, is further amended to read:
Sec. 10. 21-A MRSA §662, sub-§4, as amended by PL 1995, c. 459, §57, is repealed.
Sec. 11. 21-A MRSA §672, first ¶, as amended by PL 2007, c. 455, §30, is further amended to read:
A voter who is unable to read or mark the ballot because of physical disability, illiteracy or religious faith may request another person, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union, to assist the voter in reading the ballot or marking the ballot according to the voter's wishes. When assisting a voter, the aide may not tell the voter how to make the voter's choices or otherwise influence the voter in violation of section 682 683.
Sec. 12. 21-A MRSA §682, as amended by PL 2015, c. 447, §22, is repealed.
Sec. 13. 21-A MRSA §683 is enacted to read:
§ 683. Activities prohibited within and around voting place and registrar's office
During the time the polls are open on election day, the activities in subsections 1 to 4 and 6 are prohibited within a designated zone that includes the building where the registrar's office is located when it is open, the voting place, public property within 50 feet of each entrance to the voting place and a 50-foot-wide pathway from the location of voter parking or drop-off areas to each entrance into the voting place. For purposes of this section, "public property" does not include a public right-of-way across privately owned property if it is an easement right-of-way.
A candidate for an office that is on the ballot for the election that day may attend the voting place and orally communicate with voters only if the candidate does so outside the designated zone.
If a person attempts to influence voters or interfere with their free passage, the warden shall have that person removed from the voting place.
Sec. 14. 21-A MRSA §753-B, sub-§5, as amended by PL 2017, c. 248, §7, is further amended to read:
Sec. 15. 21-A MRSA §753-B, sub-§8, as amended by PL 2011, c. 399, §24, is further amended to read:
This subsection does not apply to the display or distribution of any campaign advertising material on private property that is within 250 feet of the entrance to the building in which the clerk's office is located. For purposes of this section, "private property" includes privately owned property subject to a public right-of-way that is an easement right-of-way.
This subsection does not apply to campaign advertising material on automobiles traveling to and from the municipal office or parked on municipal property while the occupants are visiting the municipal office to conduct municipal business. It does not prohibit a person who is at the municipal office for the purpose of conducting municipal business or for absentee voting from wearing a campaign button when the longest dimension of the button does not exceed 3 inches.
Sec. 16. 21-A MRSA §754-A, sub-§1, ¶D, as amended by PL 1999, c. 645, §7, is further amended to read:
Sec. 17. 21-A MRSA §760-B, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2015, c. 406, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 18. 21-A MRSA §902, 2nd ¶, as amended by PL 2017, c. 277, §4, is further amended to read:
The petitions must be signed in the same manner as are nonparty nomination petitions under section 354, subsections 3 and 4. The circulator of a petition must sign the petition and verify by oath or affirmation before a notary public or other person authorized by law to administer oaths or affirmations that the circulator personally witnessed all of the signatures to the petition and that to the best of the circulator's knowledge and belief each signature is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be and that each signature authorized under section 153-A was made by the authorized signer in the presence and at the direction of the voter. After administering the oath to the circulator, the notary public or other authorized person must sign the notarial certificate on the petition while in the presence of the circulator. After the petition is signed and verified in this manner, the petition must be submitted to the registrar for certification in accordance with the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 20. 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. The notary public or other authorized person who administered the oath to the circulator must keep a log of petitions for which that person administered the circulator's oath, listing the title of the petition, the name of the circulator taking the oath, the date of the oath and the number of petition forms signed and verified by the circulator that day.
Sec. 19. 21-A MRSA §903-D, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 2017, c. 277, §5, is amended to read:
Sec. 20. 21-A MRSA §905-A, first ¶, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 234, §6, is amended to read:
No later than 10 business days after the Legislature adjourns sine die, the Secretary of State shall give public notice of a proposed ballot question for any initiative that will be submitted to the voters at the next statewide election or special election by posting all proposed ballot questions on the Secretary of State's publicly accessible website. The Secretary of State may also publish notice for one day in newspapers having general circulation in the State. After giving public notice of a proposed ballot question in accordance with this section, the Secretary of State shall provide a 30-day 21-day public comment period for the purpose of receiving comments on the content and form of proposed questions to be placed on the ballot for any pending initiatives. No later than 10 days after receiving public comments in accordance with this section and after review of those comments, the Secretary of State shall write the ballot question for any pending initiative.
Sec. 21. 21-A MRSA §1204-B, sub-§80, ¶A, as enacted by PL 2013, c. 270, Pt. B, §2 and affected by §3, is amended to read:
Sec. 22. 30-A MRSA §62, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 and Pt. C, §106 and amended by PL 1989, c. 6; c. 9, §2; and c. 104, Pt. C, §§8 and 10, is repealed.
Sec. 23. 30-A MRSA §5772, sub-§2-A, as enacted by PL 1991, c. 548, Pt. D, §7 and affected by §10, is amended to read:
This bill makes the following changes to the election laws.
1. It reduces the retention period for the receipt for certified copies of the incoming voting list from one year to 6 months.
2. It adds a retention period of 6 months for test ballots and documentation of testing.
3. It adds a deadline for an aggrieved person to appeal a decision of the registrar of voters regarding the person's voter registration.
4. It removes an obsolete requirement regarding the nomination of county commissioners that primary and nomination petitions must specify the term of office.
5. It clarifies that county committee members residing within county commissioner districts make choices for county commissioner nominations for vacancies.
6. It provides that when 2 United States Senators are to be elected, the term of office sought by each candidate must be specified on the ballot.
7. It specifies acceptable formats for names of candidates for nomination to appear on a ballot.
8. It repeals the provision of law allowing for collection of signatures in the voting place.
9. It replaces the current restrictions on political activities occurring within 250 feet of the voting place on election day with new restrictions on both election-related and nonelection-related political and other activities within a designated zone that includes the building where the registrar's office is located when it is open, the voting place, public property within 50 feet of each entrance to the voting place and a 50-foot-wide pathway from the parking or drop-off areas to the entrances to the voting place. Candidates for any office that is on the ballot for the election that day may attend the voting place and orally communicate with voters only if they do so outside the designated zone. Exit polling, the collection of signatures for a candidate or a direct initiative of legislation or referendum and the conduct of charitable or other nonelection-related activities may occur only outside the designated zone. It also applies these restrictions to the municipal clerk's office during the time when absentee voting may be occurring.
10. It adds a new method for returning a voted absentee ballot to the municipal clerk.
11. It changes the manner by which the municipal clerk must give notice of the municipality's intent to process absentee ballots prior to election day.
12. It removes a provision regarding allowing another person to sign for the voter a direct initiative of legislation or a people's veto referendum petition.
13. It removes an incorrect reference to a notary public or other person authorized by law to administer oaths being able to certify petitions.
14. It decreases the public comment period regarding proposed ballot questions for direct initiatives from 30 days to 21 days.
15. It removes an incorrect reference to a census block in Augusta that was included in State Representative District 80 that already was correctly included in State Representative District 85.
16. It repeals a redundant section of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 30-A that addresses the nomination petitions for county commissioners.
17. It clarifies that the municipal treasurer's statement that must accompany a question for ratification of a municipal bond issue either may be printed on the ballot or may be printed as a separate document that is made available to voters.
18. It corrects cross-references to repealed provisions of law.