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Maine GOP takes Dunlap’s decision on ranked choice voting to court

A voter marks his ballot in the primary election March 3, 2020, in Freeport, Maine.

(The Center Square) – The Maine Republican Party has filed a court challenge to the Maine Secretary of State’s rejection of its People’s Veto of Rank Choice Voting.

“[T]hrough a meticulous investigation by our team and volunteers, we have found and verified that thousands of registered Maine voters’ signatures were improperly deemed invalid,” Maine GOP Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas said in a news release. “Much like when we cast a vote, each signature from a registered Maine voter deserves to be counted. It is shocking how many voters the Secretary of State chose to silence.”

The people’s veto supporters had submitted 9,482 petitions with 72,512 signatures to the Elections Division of the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions on June 15, a news release from Dunlap said.

Under Maine law, 63,067 signatures from registered Maine voters are required for such measures to appear on the ballot.

Elections staff determined 61,334 signatures were valid, and 11,178 were not, meaning the effort was 1,733 signatures under what is required.

The Maine GOP filed its appeal in Cumberland County Superior Court.

“Our repeal calls for the swift reversal and reinstatement of the signatures that Secretary Dunlap wrongly disqualified,” Kouzounas said. “It is completely unacceptable that our Secretary of State would handle such an important process so poorly. As long as Maine voices are silenced, we will not stop fighting.”

The Maine GOP was not given access to the petitions until last week, Kouzounas.said. After scanning and reviewing nearly 10,000 petition sheets, they identified more 2,000 signatures improperly invalidated under four different categories of technical invalidation – more than necessary to get the people’s veto on the November ballot.

Kouzounas said that if given more time, they would have found more improper invalidations.

In one example, a disabled voter’s signature was deemed invalid because it was done with a stamp, even though it’s legal under Maine law, Kouzounas said.

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