On Feb. 15, outside a busy local grocery store, shoppers were being asked if we “believe only U.S. citizens should vote in Maine elections.”

The initial gut response was “Yes. Isn’t that what the law says?” The individual soliciting signatures for the ballot referendum respectfully answered “no” and asked us to sign a petition to get the law changed. (Note: The petition did not specify the current Maine law, nor could the signature collector describe it.)

• Maine law (Title 21-A MRSA 111) does require someone to be a U.S. citizen to vote in any federal or state election.

• Maine law (Title 21-A, Chapter 11) allows paying signature gatherers based on the number of signatures collected. Thus, the signature gatherer may have been simply carrying out the paid assignment and should not be seen as representing their personal opinion either in favor of or against the ballot initiative described in the Nov. 4 news article “Signature campaign underway to require citizenship to vote in Maine.”

• Under Maine law (Maine Revised statutes 30-A, section 2501’s reference to Title 21-A Section 111), non-U.S. citizens cannot vote, even in municipal elections.

The bottom line is this:

Before donating your voice and/or signature to an initiative, do your homework.

Keep in mind that the individual asking for signatures may not be who is really behind the initiative.

Ask “How would such an initiative affect my neighbors, the grocery clerk, my carpenter, the plow guy, etc.?” If you are not sure, open a discussion with them.

Then vote your conscience.

Alicia Soliman
Arundel

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