The voting booths at Biddeford High School remained busy on Tuesday afternoon. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Maine voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a referendum proposal to restore historical tribal treaty obligations to printed versions of the Maine Constitution.

With 55 percent of votes counted at 10:40 p.m., Question 6 on the state ballot was headed for an easy victory with 72% of voters supporting the change. Passage of the proposal means  certain sections of the Maine Constitution will be restored to the printed version of the document, including parts about the state’s original treaty obligations to Native American tribes.

“The Maine Constitution will now be printed in full for the first time since 1875,” supporters of the question said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“The passage of Question 6 is important to our overall work towards increased recognition of tribal nations’ inherent sovereignty and self-determination,” said Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Bryant.

“The passage of Question 6 honors the legacy of our tribal ancestors. It brings about truth and transparency for all Mainers. I’m appreciative that Mainers agreed to support our shared history.”

Question 6 was one of four proposed constitutional amendments decided by Maine voters Tuesday.


Preliminary results showed voters supporting Question 5 on the state ballot 57% to 43%.

Question 5 amends the timeframe for the state to review petitions for citizens’ initiatives and people’s vetoes. Its aim is to reduce the workload on state election workers, particularly around Election Day.

Question 7 was headed for defeat, with 69% opposed and to 31% in favor.

Question 7 would have removed obsolete language requiring circulators of petitions for a citizen’s initiative or people’s veto efforts to be residents of Maine and registered to vote in the state.

Question 8 was trailing but too close to call, with 54% opposed and 46% in favor.

Question 8 would remove obsolete language stating that people under guardianships because of mental illness are not qualified to vote for state offices.


The state no longer enforces the provisions that are the subject of Questions 7 and 8 because federal court cases found them in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. Passage of those questions would align the Maine and federal constitutions.

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State said prior to Tuesday’s elections that regardless of the outcome on Questions 7 and 8, the state would continue to not enforce the provisions based on the court rulings.

Backers of all four changes have said they are important to increase transparency, clean up the language in the state constitution and ease the workload for state elections workers, although the proposed amendments did not attract significant attention or campaign spending. Just under $5,400 was spent to support Question 6, the most of any of the four questions.

Some who voted Tuesday expressed confusion about the questions or said the constitutional amendments were not high among their priorities.

At the American Legion on Broadway in South Portland, voter Jeremy Doxsee said he found that some of the questions were “worded in such a way it was hard to really understand them.”

“I’m leery of those,” said Doxsee, 51. “If you don’t understand what the question is asking you, I’m inclined to vote no.”


Doxsee said his priorities Tuesday were City Council races, with an eye toward candidates whom he said seemed less receptive to zoning changes for the proposed Yard South project near Bug Light Park.

Laurel Hecker, 33, said Questions 5, 7 and 8 were not the most important ballot questions for her – she felt more strongly about supporting Question 3, a proposal to create a publicly owned and operated electric utility. But she also said she thought Question 6 was the right move.

“I was definitely in favor of that one,” Hecker said. “I didn’t know even until recently that we weren’t printing the entire (constitution) and it seems very pointed to leave out those provisions specifically. With the history of how the state has treated Indigenous people and the Wabanaki, this is a small step but it’s something that puts (their history) more in the forefront of people’s consciousness.”

Michael Pock, 76, said he also voted in support of Question 6. “I think all the history should be there,” Pock said.

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