A Lebanon man is launching an effort to overturn a new Maine law that would have the state pledge all of its electoral votes in presidential races to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

James DuPrie submitted paperwork to the Maine Department of the Secretary of State this month to initiate the process for a people’s veto of L.D. 1578, a bill that Gov. Janet Mills allowed to become law without her signature last month. Emily Cook, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, said Wednesday that DuPrie will need to turn in at least 67,682 valid signatures by Aug. 8 in order to force a statewide referendum.

The law, which is expected to go into effect in August, will make Maine part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to ensure that the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide is elected president.

More than a dozen other states already have joined the compact, which requires each state to pledge that all of its electoral votes will be given to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide no matter who wins in that particular state. The compact will be activated only after enough states join to control 270 Electoral College votes, the minimum number needed to win the presidency.

DuPrie, a Republican who is retired and said he is active in local politics, isn’t opposed to the idea itself but said that passage of the law by the Legislature was government overreach and he believes that Mainers voters should have a chance to weigh in.

“I think it’s important that the voters, the people this is going to impact, have an opportunity to express their opinion on it,” he said.


Any Maine voter can circulate petitions for a people’s veto by filing an application with the secretary of state within 10 days of the adjournment of the session in which the legislation in question was passed and by gathering enough signatures in support of their effort to get the issue to go to referendum.

The application requires five additional voters to join the effort. DuPrie included several Republican lawmakers – Rep. Jeffrey Adams, R-Lebanon, Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, Rep. David Boyer, R-Poland, and Rep. Barbara Bagshaw, R-Windham – along with Fryeburg resident Payton Hastings on his application.

The draft question for the people’s veto is: “Do you want to reject the law that enters Maine into an agreement with other states to elect the President by national popular vote?”

Once signatures are turned in, the secretary of state has 30 business days to review them and determine if there are enough to send the question to the ballot.

If there are, the law is put on hold and the question would be voted on at the next statewide or general election, whichever comes first. The election must come at least 60 days after the secretary of state’s determination on the signatures, Cook said.

The deadline to file an application for a people’s veto of legislation passed this session is Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the secretary of state’s office has not received any other applications, Cook said.

L.D. 1578, sponsored by Rep. Arthur Bell, D-Yarmouth, was the subject of heated debate in the Legislature and it made it to the governor’s desk only after a narrow 73-72 vote in the House of Representatives.

Supporters argued that the presidency is a unique national office that should be elected by popular vote, rather than by a handful of swing states that can dominate the Electoral College system.

Opponents said the compact was an attempt to change the election process without formally amending the U.S. Constitution, and that joining it would silence the voices of rural voters who would be overlooked as candidates focus on winning support in larger states.

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