In the Aug. 13 front-page story “Confusion – even more than usual – reigns over people’s vetoes,” Jack McCarthy, who is the primary proponent for all of the current veto petitions, complains that the voting on any of the petitions that gain sufficient signatures would take place next June instead of next March.

But this will happen only if his veto petition to overturn the Act to Implement a Presidential Primary System in Maine garners sufficient signatures to place that law in abeyance until voters have the opportunity to overturn it (should they wish). Were McCarthy to withdraw this petition, the others could be voted on in March.

But he and some other referendum proponents are concerned that if the vote on the primary referendum and the other referendums occurs in June, there are likely to be more Democratic voters attracted to vote in support of the presidential primary. McCarthy and his colleagues believe this would lead to the defeat of these referendums.

So, they face a dilemma: Withdraw their petition against the primary and have the voting happen in March, or intensify the signature-collection process for this petition and accept the consequences of their success. Their attempt to game the system against the Legislature has engendered their problem, and their fear of what a majority of Maine’s voters might say is indicative of the sort of game they are playing (and the hand they hold). I suspect they will just file a suit and see what might happen.

For those who believe that a presidential primary for Maine is a good idea (and those who oppose most of McCarthy’s petitions), there is now an additional reason for not signing the petition to overturn the presidential primary act.

Bruce Hauptli


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