Making Democracy Work

New League Study On Maine's Citizen Initiatives And People's Vetoes

LWVME Study -- Citizen Initiatives

LWVME Study on Citizen Initiatives and People's Vetoes

The LWVME's Citizen Initiative Study Committee has begun a comprehensive review of the history, processes, uses, restrictions and financing of Maine's citizen initiated legislation and referenda. The Committee will research information from a variety of reliable, balanced sources to inform membership about the strengths and weaknesses of the current systems, the pros/cons of alternative systems and possible changes. Although a few other state Leagues have studied this topic, none are comparable to Maine's, so we are doing an original consensus study.

When our research is complete, we'll write up our research, prepare Study Guides and develop Consensus Questions for our League meetings later this year. If you're not a member of LWVME, please join now so you can participate in this important study.

LWVME Study Committee visiting LWVMA Hamilton-Wenham CI study meeting 2/5/2019Look for monthly e-mail updates on our study and questions that solicit your input on issues that the Committee is researching. Let us know any thoughts and questions that you have about the citizen-initiative process by contacting us at

Committee members include: Beth Basham (South Portland), Suzanne Carmichael (Deer Isle), Barbara Kaufman (Freeport), Valerie Kelly (Peaks Island), Sheila Kirby (Mt. Desert), Kim Peaslee (Peaks Island), and Judy Whiting (Manchester), shown here visiting the LWVMA Hamilton-Wenham Chapter to observe their CI Study Consensus Meeting on Feb 5, 2019.

This Month's Study Committee News

The research phase of our Citizen Initiative Study is winding down and writing the various sections of our report has begun. Writing includes one-page summaries of each topic, some of which we'll begin to share in April. Although our consensus meetings are still several months away, in March we reached out to our valuable members-at-large, to determine the best way to include them in our discussions. And in April, the popular Democracy Forum, hosted on WERU-FM by Ann Luther, will devote an entire program to Citizen Initiative issues. If you can't hear it locally, we'll provide a link to the podcast.

In February 2019, our member email asked three questions about voter input/information concerning citizen initiatives. The results:

Question 1: Are you aware that there is a mandatory 30-day comment period when members of the public can submit written comments about the wording of a proposed initiative?

  • Yes: 24%
  • No: 76%

Question 2: Before you received today's email, did you know that the Maine Secretary of State publishes a "Citizen's Guide" whenever there is a Citizen Initiative or People's Veto question on the ballot?
  • Yes: 39%
  • No: 61%

Question 3: What are the 2 most useful resources that you use to become informed about ballot questions?
  • Newspaper articles: 33%
  • LWVME Guide: 22%
  • TV/radio: 13%
  • Internet: 9%
  • Sec. of State's Voter Guide: 7%
  • Friends/Family: 7%
  • Mailings by proponents/opponents: 4%
  • Other: 3%
  • Social media: 1%

Our March member email launched a new poll with three questions concerning "fiscal impact statements" associated with citizen initiatives. If you didn't get that email, you can participate in our March poll by clicking here.

If you have any comments or questions you'd like to share, please contact us at

Citizen Initiative Resources

  • Citizen Initiatives propose new legislation. Click here to see all Citizen Initiatives considered by Maine voters 1910-2018.
  • People's Vetoes ask voters if they want to repeal a law passed by the Legislature but not yet in effect. Click here to see all People's Vetoes considered by Maine voters through the years.
  • To see a copy of the Maine Secretary of State's 2018 Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election, click here (information on the 2018 health care initiative begins on p. 4)
  • To review the LWVME 2018 Voter's Guide click here (information on the 2018 health care initiative is on p.26)
  • If you're curious about future citizen initiatives, click here.