AP News | December 1, 2022
A proposed referendum aimed at restricting foreign government influence on Maine elections has enough signatures to appear on the 2023 ballot, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said Thursday.
The proposal was spurred by the costliest referendum in state history — a proposal to stop an electricity transmission line in western Maine — in which Canada’s Hydro Quebec was one of the big donors.
The secretary of state’s office certified 67,550 signatures of registered voters, surpassing the minimum threshold by more than 4,000. That means that the proposal will go to the Maine Legislature for consideration. If it isn’t passed by lawmakers, then it would go to state voters in November.
Hydro Quebec and Central Maine Power’s parent company partnered on a $1 billion hydropower corridor that was rejected by Maine voters. The project that received nearly a half-dozen state and federal approvals before state voters weighed in continues to be the source of litigation.
Hydro Quebec was the primary donor for the Hydro Quebec Maine Partnership ballot question committee that spent more than $15 million last year on the campaign. Total spending topped $90 million.