The Maine Department of the Secretary of State is providing petition forms for Maine residents who plan to run for public office as of Wednesday, Dec. 27. All those who seek to have their name on the ballot for federal, state, or county public office in 2018, including current officeholders who will seek re-election, must complete the petition forms.
Per the provisions of Maine election laws, prospective candidates can begin collecting signatures on Monday, Jan. 1. Through this petition process, candidates qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for either the primary election or general election.
Members of the Democratic, Green Independent, Libertarian, or Republican parties seeking their party’s nomination must submit their completed petition forms to the office of the Secretary of State by March 15. The primary election will take place on Tuesday, June 12.
Non-party candidates must submit their completed petition forms to the appropriate municipality for certification by May 25. The forms must then be delivered to the office of the Secretary of State no later than June 1.
The general election will take place on Nov. 6. Maine voters will elect one of Maine’s two U.S. senators, Maine’s governor, two representatives to the U.S. Congress, members of the Maine Legislature, and certain county officers.
The Maine Department of the Secretary of State Elections Division provides nomination petition forms to candidates at its office in the Burton M. Cross State Office Building, fourth floor, 111 Sewall St., Augusta.
The number of signatures required varies depending on the office and whether the candidate is affiliated with a political party. The Candidate’s Guide to Ballot Access, which includes detailed instructions for completing and circulating nomination petitions, is now available on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website at maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/candidate/index.html.
The guide also includes a detailed explanation of the status of ranked-choice voting and how the pending people’s veto process may affect the June primary (excerpt follows):
Status of ranked-choice voting
As of the completion of this Candidate’s Guide on Dec. 8, 2017, a people’s veto petition effort is circulating petitions that may result in the implementation of ranked-choice voting for the June 12, 2018 primary election.
If the people’s veto petitioners submit at least 61,123 valid signatures to the Secretary of State by Feb. 2, 2018, to suspend the recent law change enacted by the Legislature, then the primary elections for U.S. Senate, governor, U.S. Congress, State Senate and representative to the Legislature will be decided by a system of ranked-choice voting instead of by plurality. Additionally, the people’s veto ballot question will be presented to the voters at a special referendum election on June 12, 2018, to determine whether the law change will be permanently vetoed.
• If the ballot question is approved in June, ranked-choice voting would be used for the offices of U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress for the general election.
• If the ballot question is not approved in June, PL 2017, c. 316 will take effect and ranked-choice voting will not be implemented, unless the voters amend the Maine Constitution to authorize ranked-choice voting prior to Dec. 1, 2021.
Maine’s people’s veto referendum process is provided for by the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, and governed by Title 21-A M.R.S. Chapter 11.