Maine’s citizen initiative process is unfair, claims State Rep. Paula Sutton.
“[R]ural Mainers are left out of the equation,” Sutton tells readers of Knox County’s Village Soup, “and Portland dictates public policy for the rest of the state.”
Hmmm? Every Mainer eligible to vote currently has the equal right to decide ballot measures.
Her grievance appears to be that there are more urban voters than rural.
Last November, voters passed four of five issues, all opposed by Rep. Sutton. Still, losing at the ballot box is hardly prima facie evidence of “unfairness.”
“Unless we do something to fix the citizens’ referendum process here in Maine,” she nonetheless contends, “the state will continue to be an easy target.”
For what, exactly? Voting on issues people favor?
Mainers are “ripe to be taken advantage of by wealthy out-of-state special interests,” she complains, explaining that billionaire Michael Bloomberg “spent millions of dollars in his failed attempt to squash Mainers’ Second Amendment rights with Question 3.”
Yes, you read that right. Question 3 failed. Voters weren’t exploited.
Sutton has introduced legislation “to ensure rural Mainers are no longer being run over by wealthy liberal special interest groups.” Her bill requires petitions to qualify in each of the state’s two congressional districts instead of qualifying statewide. That makes it more difficult, but hardly changes the need to circulate petitions in urban areas.
Not forests and empty fields.
Rep. Sutton seems to understand her proposal won’t effectively thwart citizen initiatives, pledging to support further restrictions. That’s easier for politicians than permitting democracy and persuading people.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.