REFERENDUM BREAKDOWN: Do voters really have a say?

THERE WERE 5 REFERENDUM QUESTIONS ON THE BALLOT:MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION, TAX FOR EDUCATION, GUN CONTROL, MINIMUM WAGE AND RANKED CHOICE VOTING.MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS POURED INTO THE STATE FOR THESE INITIATIVES WITH ADS RUNNING NONSTOP

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With the talk of a looming government shutdown, some voters are concerned about just how much state leaders are looking out for Maine people.

NEWS CENTER’s viewers took to Facebook with their concerns—pointing to how the legislature is handling the implantation of referendum questions.

"They should listen to what the people are wanting to do and not adjusting or adding or taken away things after its already been voted on,” Samantha Thomson said.

There were five referendum questions on the ballot in 2016—marijuana legalization, taxes, gun control, minimum wage and ranked-choice voting.

Since then, a number of them have been drastically modified or could be completely thrown out.

1)     Marijuana Legalization: regulations surrounding recreational pot use, its sale and social clubs are still uncertain.

2)     3% Tax for Education: Tax on household income over $200,000 for education is expected to be thrown out completely when a budget is settled.

3)     Background Checks for Gun Sales: Did not pass in referendum vote.

4)     Minimum Wage: Changed drastically with the reinstatement of a tip credit

5)     Ranked-Choice Voting: Many claim it is unconstitutional, including Maine Supreme Court, was last tabled and its future does not appear to be too promising


"If you're not listening to what the people want then you're just a dictator,” Padriac Harrison said.

"That the legislators kinda taken it out of the voters' hands kind of disappoints me as a citizen of the state of Maine,” Mike Gingras said.

Millions of dollars from special interests poured into the state for these initiatives with ads running nonstop, but was it all worth it?

NEWS CENTER broke it all down and found the following from the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices:

Question One:

Supporters are still spending money—as much as $40,000 in 2017. That amount adding to more than $2.7 million already spent in 2016. Some $273,000 was spent in opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana.

Question Two:

$3.3 million was spent in support of the initiative to tax high earners to fund education, the most of any other initiative. Just over $500,000 was spent against the initiative.

Question Four:

$2 million was spent in support of increasing minimum wage. $159,000 was spent in opposition.

 

Here is a more detailed breakdown of just how much money was spent on these initiatives:

Q1 SUPPORT

2016 SPENDING

CAMPAIGN TO REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL

2,742,407.64

LEGALIZE MAINE

22,658.68

SUM

2,765,066.32

   

Q1 OPPOSE

 

MAINE MATTERS VOTE NO

17,812.08

MAINERS PROTECTING OUR YOUTH AND COMMUNITIES

256,109.13

SUM

273,921.21

   

Q2 OPPOSE

 

COALITION TO LOWER MAINE TAXES

39,036.75

NO ON QUESTION 2

443,274.79

BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS OF MAINE

21,354.37

RETAIL LUMBER DEALERS ASSOC OF MAINE

5,000.00

SUM

508,665.91

   

Q2 SUPPORT

 

CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT MAINE'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

2,571,325.72

MAINE AFL-CIO

18,736.70

MAINE CENTER FOR ECONOMIC POLICY

45,005.58

MAINE PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE

481,911.88

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEE'S ASSOCIATION

37,220.44

PLANNED PARENTHOOD MAINE ACTION FUND

186,668.01

SUM

3,340,868.33

   

Q4 SUPPORT

 

MAINE AFL-CIO COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION

14,946.64

MAINE AFL-CIO

18,736.70

MAINE CENTER FOR ECONOMIC POLICY

45,005.58

MAINE PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE

481,911.88

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEE'S ASSOCIATION

37,220.44

PLANNED PARENTHOOD MAINE ACTION FUND

186,668.01

MAINERS FOR FAIR WAGES

172,330.00

MAINERS FOR FAIR WAGES PAC

856,572.64

MAINERS FOR INFORMED VOTERS

6,735.58

THE FAIRNESS PROJECT MAINE PAC

180,000.00

SUM

2,000,127.47

   

Q4 OPPOSE

 

MAINE PEOPLE FOR MAINE JOBS

74,028.43

RESTAUEATEURS FOR A STRONG MAINE ECONOMY

85,873.53

SUM

159,901.96

"How many people are reading the minutia involves and thinking about the difficulties in implementing that and I think that's the other piece,” Assoc. Professor at Husson University David Haus said.

With all of the uncertainty, we asked you what you thought. Click here for our current pulse poll.

There is currently a bill in Augusta aimed at making it harder to get citizen-led initiatives on the ballot. L.D. 31 passed the House and is now in the Senate.

It would require a broader representation across congressional districts by requiring a percentage of voters’ signatures from each district.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment