An Act To Amend the Direct Initiative Signature Gathering Process
Sec. 1. 4 MRSA §955-C, sub-§1, ¶C, as amended by PL 2005, c. 629, §2, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 4 MRSA §955-C, sub-§1, ¶D, as enacted by PL 1997, c. 712, §2, is amended to read:
Sec. 3. 4 MRSA §955-C, sub-§1, ¶E is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §902, as amended by PL 2011, c. 342, §31, is further amended to read:
§ 902. Verification and certification
The verification and certification of the petition as required by the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 20 , must be worded so that a single verification or certification may cover one or more pages fastened together as a single petition.
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 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. 5. 21-A MRSA §903-D is enacted to read:
§ 903-D. Notaries public
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §905, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2009, c. 611, §5, is further amended to read:
The Secretary of State shall determine the validity of the petition and issue a written decision stating the reasons for the decision within 30 days from the date of filing of a written petition in the Department of the Secretary of State under the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 or 18.
The Secretary of State may invalidate a petition if the Secretary of State is unable to verify the notarization of that petition.
Sec. 7. Secretary of State to accept reports of suspected fraudulent signature gathering practices. The Secretary of State shall establish a method to facilitate the acceptance of reports from members of the public regarding suspected fraudulent or illegal signature gathering practices for direct initiative and people's veto petitions.