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November 5th 2019: The Referendum Election

by Sarah Skillin Woodard

On Tuesday, November 5th, voters will have only two statewide issues on their ballots. Here is the wording of the questions as they will appear on the ballot:

Question 1: Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue to build or improve roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit and ports and make other transportation investments, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?

A “yes” vote authorizes $105 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects, including:

  • $85 million to construct and rehabilitate state highways, replace and rehabilitate bridges, and to fund the municipal partnership initiative;
  • $15 million for facilities and equipment related to freight and passenger railroads, transit, ports, marine transportation, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements;
  • $4 million for a competitive grant program that matches funds from local governments, municipal conservation commissions, soil and water conservation districts, and nonprofit organizations to make upgrades to municipal culverts at stream crossings that improve storm and flood control and improve fish and wildlife habitats; and
  • $1 million for the renovation of a wharf and bulkhead at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Portland for the purpose of bringing the wharf back into operation for commercial fishing vessels and marine research vessels.

Question 2: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to allow persons with disabilities to sign petitions in an alternative manner as authorized by the Legislature?

A “yes” vote supports the amendment to authorize legislation allowing for persons with physical disabilities that prevent them from signing their own names use an alternative signature to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures.

A “no” vote opposes this amendment and requires these same people to sign their names using their “original signature.” This only applies to citizen initiatives and so called “people’s veto” forms. The state constitution does not have a similar requirement for candidate petitions.

Maine’s Secretary of State’s Office along with the Attorney General’s Office, State Treasurer’s Office and the Office of Fiscal and Program Review have created a helpful voters’ guide with detailed information about the questions as well as the state’s overall bond debt.

 

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