Ballot Question Challenges – To Expedite or Not to Expedite? That Is the Question.
The Law Court recently issued a decision in Caiazzo v. Secretary of State that was interesting on several levels. (Full disclosure: this blogger represented the petitioner in the appeal). One procedural aspect of the decision is particularly interesting, as it will affect the timing of future challenges to the Secretary of State’s determination regarding the wording of ballot questions for direct initiatives.
Caiazzo involved a voter’s challenge to the Secretary’s decision regarding the ballot question for a direct initiative. The Superior Court handled the challenge on an expedited basis, under 21-A M.R.S. § 905.
Section 905 provides that voters (specifically, “any voter named in the [initiative] application . . ., or any person who has validly signed the petitions, if these petitions are determined to be invalid, or any other voter, if these petitions are determined to be valid”) may challenge the Secretary’s decision whether to validate petition signatures for a direct initiative. Section 905 also provides a