BANGOR – A group formed to make sure that the right to vote in Maine is reserved only for United States citizens kicked off their referendum campaign last week in Bangor at a standing room only fundraising event with over 100 people attending to support the measure.
The effort, a direct ballot initiative of legislation, came about after Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives voted down two different proposals to forbid non-citizen voting.
Another proposal, sponsored by Rep. Nate Wadsworth, met a similar fate, receiving broad bipartisan support in the Maine Senate with a vote of 32-3 for approval. It then died under Speaker Sara Gideon’s gavel in the Maine House, voted down twice with Gideon leading the charge against it.
Now, the proposal will be placed directly in the hands of the people of Maine.
that will bring it to the people, called The Maine Citizens Elections Committee,
is chaired by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham. Over the course of the next few
months they will work to collect more than 64,000 signatures on official state
petitions in their bid to put a simple question on the ballot for a statewide
the people of Maine would have a vote in the matter, free of any opposition by
legislators in Augusta.
said in a press release that the event showed that support is strong for his
committee’s proposal, “The event this
evening has shown us that Maine people are ready to take this question to
voters. It has been blocked by the Legislature for far too long,” said Faulkingham.
Former Governor Paul LePage headlined
the Bangor event, and more than 115 people attended.
One of the founding donors to the
committee is herself an immigrant, said Rep. Faulkingham. Veronique Grignon, an
immigrant from Canada who became a citizen in 2016, was one of the first donors
to the effort.
“It’s not surprising to me, that one
of our first donors is a legal immigrant,” said Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham, Chairman of the Maine Citizen Elections Committee.
“Legal immigrants have a lot of pride
in earning their citizenship,” Faulkingham continued,
“and they understand the importance of gaining citizenship before earning the
privilege to vote in elections.”
Faulkingham says the ballot question
is a very simple one, “Do you believe only United States citizens should vote
in all of our elections?”
If his committee is successful, the people of Maine will get a chance to answer that question. According to organizers, the effort has won the support of grassroots supporters and current and former lawmakers. To learn more about the Maine Citizen Elections Committee, you can visit their website at https://www.mainecitizenelections.com/