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Dear Members and Friends of LWVME,

They'll be back starting this morning.

The special session of the Maine State Legislature that convened last week resumes work beginning at 10:00 a.m. today, Monday, June 25. Here is the schedule for this week.

You may remember that when the legislature adjourned last month, they left town with most of the major business undone. During the special session last week, they dispatched some of the big stuff on that list, but the one the League is watching most closely remains an open question going into today.

Funding for Clean Elections
LD 1894 An Act To Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine. There was a drafting error regarding funding for Clean Elections in the biennial budget passed at the 11th hour last summer. Because of the way that budget bill was worded regarding the early transfer of $3 million from FY 2019 to FY 2018, the error prevents the Ethics Commission from disbursing money to candidates from the Maine Clean Election Fund after the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2018.

To make matters worse, it now appears that candidates participating in the Clean Elections program will not be allowed to raise private money to make up the difference. The Maine Clean Election Act provides that participating candidates may raise private money to finish their campaigns IF the fund runs out of money. In this twisted circumstance, the fund is NOT out of money. The fund HAS plenty of money. But the Ethics Commission is not allowed to disburse it.

Everyone agrees it was a drafting error. The legislature attempted to fix the problem in the so-called Errors Bill, which normally sails through unopposed. Not this time. House Republicans are holding up the works.

We need this bill to pass.

Candidates and voters from all parties have been relying on the Clean Elections program. This funding was part of a bipartisan budget deal hammered out last year. There is no legitimate reason for House Republicans to renege on that deal now or to change the rules in the middle of the election cycle. You can find contact information here. Tell your representatives how much you want them to fix this problem. Find some additional talking points for your call on our web site.

Not Really Under the Dome, but of Interest

Congratulations to us all on the successful completion of our first ranked choice voting election in Maine. The results were announced on Wednesday evening, June 20. Here is the League's press release on the occasion. Look for more analysis from the League in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, the Secretary of State has posted the official result online here.

Join Us!  If you are not already a member of the League, we need your help now to carry out our mission and to strengthen our democracy. Please join us.
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