Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap tossed out about 2,000 signatures previously counted as valid, but opponents of Central Maine Power Co.’s proposed $1 billion transmission corridor still have enough of a signature cushion to trigger a ballot question aimed at stopping the project.

If supported by voters in November, the initiative would order the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reverse its 2019 finding that the planned, 145-mile power line stretching from Lewiston to the Quebec border is in the state’s best interests.

Dunlap examined the actions of eight notaries and determined that three acted improperly, either by circulating petitions themselves and subsequently notarizing petitions for other circulators, or by not administering an oath to circulators in an authorized manner. He also disqualified all the signatures previously determined to be valid from one circulator whose petition was rife with errors.

A legal challenge to the Elections Division’s initial certification on March 4 remanded the matter back to Dunlap’s office, and he disqualified 2,052 signatures to lower the total to 66,117 valid signatures from registered Maine voters, still above the minimum of 63,067 required to move forward.

Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy will rule by April 13 on whether to accept Dunlap’s interpretation of the law as it pertains to the gathering of valid signatures. On Friday, Murphy denied motions to allow additional evidence, filed by those seeking to avoid a referendum.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.