An Act To Make Ballot Questions Easier To Read and Understand for Maine Voters
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, the ability of voters to make informed choices on ballot questions is essential for the proper functioning of the State's citizen democracy; and
Whereas, this Act makes necessary improvements to the process of presenting referendum questions to the voters; and
Whereas, it is possible that referenda may be sent to the voters before the 90-day period has expired; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §906, sub-§6, ¶B, as repealed and replaced by PL 1993, c. 352, §3, is amended to read:
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill requires that ballot questions be written in a manner that is understandable to the greatest number of voters possible, determined to be for adult literacy at the 6th-grade reading level, which is the standard used for other important official state documents, including for the Maine Residents Property Tax Program, notices regarding child support, municipal property tax deferral programs for seniors and temporary assistance for needy families. This bill also requires ballot questions to unambiguously state what the effect of a "yes" or "no" vote may have.