by State Representative Bruce White
Election Day is right around the corner. At the polls, you’ll see two ballot questions that come from our work in the Legislature. The first asks if you’d like to authorize a $105 million bond for transportation infrastructure projects, things like road and bridge repairs. The second question comes from a bill I submitted last session and aims to make the political process more inclusive and accessible. This bill had bi-partisan support in the legislature.
Question two will read, “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to allow persons with disabilities to sign petitions in an alternative manner as authorized by the Legislature?” This would allow persons with physical disabilities who cannot sign their own name to use an alternative method to sign citizen’s initiative petitions and people’s veto initiatives.
Alternative signatures for people with physical disabilities are already approved for the purposes of voter registration, change of party enrollment, candidate nomination petitions and Maine Clean Election Act forms. This question simply expands the existing provision and helps ensure all Maine residents are given the opportunity to participate in our political system.
The original idea for this bill came to me from the Secretary of State’s Office, and I was immediately excited and honored to sponsor the legislation. By allowing people with disabilities to use a signature stamp or authorize another resident to sign on their behalf, we’re getting more Maine voices involved in solving the issues our state faces. I look forward to you all having the opportunity to weigh in on this matter on Nov. 5.