AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Mainers may get another chance to vote on Clean Elections. The public financing law was passed back in 1996, but supporters say it has been diminished by court rulings and budget cuts.
Today those same supporters-Maine Citizens for Clean Elections -- launched a petition drive to make changes in the law. If they get enough signatures, Maine voters will get to decide on a series of reforms MCCE says will strengthen the law and make more candidates want to use it. Some Republicans, in particular, oppose the current clean elections law, but the supporters insist something has to be done to reduce the influence of money in politics.
The proposed law would allow for matching funds for clean candidates who are being outspent by opponents. It would also increase the amounts provided to candidates, impose tougher penalties for violating the law, ban clean candidates from also having their own PAC's and create a new funding source for clean elections - a surcharge on all court fines.
The clean elections supporters say they will start circulating petitions in September, and hope to take the issue to voters by 2015.. and possibly 2014, if the petition drive succeeds in time.