Maine Revised Statutes

§2503. Reapportionment

1. Adoption by ordinance.  Districts established for the purpose of electing, from each district, an equal number of municipal officers may be adjusted, by ordinance, by the municipal legislative body subject to the following conditions.
A. Each district must be formed of compact, contiguous territory. Its boundary lines may follow the center lines of streets. [1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §2 and Pt (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. Each district must contain as nearly as possible the same number of inhabitants as determined according to the latest Federal Decennial Census, but districts may not differ in number of inhabitants by more than 10% of the inhabitants in the smallest district created. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. The ordinance must include a map and a description of the districts. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
D. The ordinance takes effect on the 30th day after adoption by the legislative body. The new districts and boundaries, as of the effective date, supersede previous districts and boundaries for the purposes of the next regular municipal election, including nominations. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
2. Failure to enact ordinance.  The municipal legislative body must enact the reapportionment ordinance within 12 months after the Legislature has reapportioned the House and Senate districts pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 3 and Article IV, Part Second, Section 2 or after a court decision finalizing the reapportionment of districts. The ordinance must be enacted at least 90 days before a regular municipal election occurring within that 12-month period or the previous reapportionment ordinance applies to that election. If the legislative body fails to enact an ordinance within the 12-month period or at least 90 days before a regular election occurring after the 12-month period, all municipal officers to be elected must be elected at large and serve until their terms expire. Such at-large elections continue until the legislative body enacts an ordinance in accordance with subsection 1 at least 90 days before a regular municipal election.
[ 2001, c. 537, §1 (AMD); 2001, c. 537, §2 (AFF) .]
3. Referendum.  Except when the municipal legislative body is the town meeting, the voters of the municipality may require the municipal legislative body to reconsider any ordinance adopted under subsection 1. If the legislative body does not repeal an ordinance so reconsidered, the voters may approve or reject it at a municipal election.
A. Any 5 voters may commence referendum proceedings by filing an affidavit with the municipal clerk stating:
(1) They will constitute the petitioners' committee;
(2) They will be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form;
(3) Their names and addresses;
(4) The address to which all notices to the committee are to be sent; and
(5) The ordinance sought to be reconsidered.
Promptly after the affidavit of the petitioners' committee is filed, the clerk shall issue the appropriate petition blanks to the petitioners' committee. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. Petitions under this subsection must meet the following requirements.
(1) Petitions must be signed by a number of voters of the municipality equal to at least 15% of the total number of voters in the municipality at the last presidential election.
(2) All papers of a petition shall be uniform in size and style and shall be assembled as one instrument for filing. Each signature must be executed in ink or indelible pencil and must be followed by the address of the person signing. While being circulated, petitions must have the full text of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered contained in or attached to the petition.
(3) When filed, each paper of a petition must have an affidavit, executed by the circulator of the petition, attached to it stating:
(a) That the circulator personally circulated the paper;
(b) The number of signatures on the paper;
(c) That all the signatures were signed in the circulator's presence;
(d) That the circulator believes them to be the genuine signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be; and
(e) That each signer had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.
(4) Petitions must be filed within 30 days after the municipal legislative body adopts the ordinance sought to be reconsidered. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. The following procedure shall be followed after the petition is filed with the municipal clerk.
(1) Within 20 days after the petition is filed, the municipal clerk shall complete a certificate as to its sufficiency, specifying, if it is insufficient, the particulars which render it defective. The clerk shall promptly send a copy of the certificate to the petitioners' committee by registered mail. A petition certified insufficient for lack of the required number of valid signatures may be amended once if the petitioners' committee files a notice of intention to amend it with the clerk within 2 days after receiving the copy of the clerk's certificate and files a supplementary petition upon additional papers within 10 days after receiving a copy of the certificate. This supplementary petition must comply with the requirements of paragraph B, subparagraphs (2) and (3). Within 5 days after it is filed, the clerk shall complete a certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition as amended and promptly send a copy of that certificate to the petitioners' committee by registered mail as in the case of an original petition. If a petition or amended petition is certified insufficient and the petitioners' committee does not elect to amend the petition or request review under subparagraph (2), within the time required, the clerk shall promptly present the clerk's certificate to the municipal legislative body and the certificate is then a final determination as to the sufficiency of the petition.
(2) If a petition has been certified insufficient and the petitioners' committee does not file notice of intention to amend it or if an amended petition has been certified insufficient, the committee, within 2 days after receiving the copy of the certificate, may file a request that it be reviewed by the municipal legislative body. The legislative body shall review the certificate at its next meeting following the filing of the committee's request and approve or disapprove it. This determination is then final as to the sufficiency of the petition.
(3) A final determination as to the sufficiency of a petition is subject to court review. A final determination of insufficiency, even if sustained upon court review, does not prejudice the filing of a new petition for the same purpose. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
D. When a petition is filed with the clerk under this subsection, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered is suspended from taking effect. This suspension ends when:
(1) There is a final determination of insufficiency of the petition;
(2) The petitioners' committee withdraws the petition;
(3) The council repeals the ordinance; or
(4) Thirty days have elapsed after a vote of the municipality on the ordinance. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
E. The following procedure shall be followed if a petition is determined to be sufficient.
(1) When a petition has been finally determined sufficient, the municipal legislative body shall promptly reconsider the referred ordinance by voting its repeal. If the legislative body fails to repeal the referred ordinance within 30 days after the date the petition was finally determined sufficient, it shall submit the referred ordinance to the voters of the municipality.
(2) The vote of the municipality on a referred ordinance shall be held at least 30 days and not more than one year after the municipal legislative body's final vote on the ordinance. If no regular municipal election is to be held within this period, the legislative body shall provide for a special election; otherwise the vote shall be held at the same time as a regular election occurring within this period, except that the legislative body, in its discretion, may provide for a special election at an earlier date within the prescribed period. Copies of the referred ordinance shall be made available at the polls.
(3) The form of the ballot for the repeal of the ordinance shall be substantially as follows:
"Shall the ordinance entitled '................' be repealed?
YES / / NO / /"
(The voters shall indicate their choice by a cross or check mark placed in the appropriate box opposite the words YES or NO.)
(4) A petition may be withdrawn at any time before the 15th day prior to the day scheduled for a vote of the municipality. The petitioners' committee must file with the municipal clerk a request for withdrawal signed by at least 4 members of the petitioners' committee. Upon filing this request, the petition has no further effect and all proceedings on the petition shall be terminated. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
F. If a majority of the voters who vote on a referred ordinance vote for its repeal, it is considered repealed upon certification of the election results. [1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §16 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §16 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
4. Exception.  This section does not apply to municipalities whose charters specify different methods of reapportionment.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2; 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1987, c. 737, §§A2,C106 (NEW). 1989, c. 6, (AMD). 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD). 1989, c. 104, §§A116,C10 (AMD). 1989, c. 104, §§A116,C8,10 (AMD). 2001, c. 537, §1 (AMD). 2001, c. 537, §2 (AFF).