Voters with disabilities could get help signing petitions

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AUGUSTA — Voters whose disabilities prevent them from signing petitions for citizen initiatives could have alternative ways to express their support under a proposed constitutional amendment.

Maine voters will consider such a constitutional amendment Nov. 5.

Democratic Rep. Bruce White says the constitutional requirement that such signatures must be made by the voter themselves poses an “obvious problem” for those who are quadriplegic, or have Parkinson’s or lack hands.

White says the amendment would give lawmakers the choice to allow alternatives such as self-inking stampers or proxies.

A 2005 Maine law gave individuals with physical disabilities such choices when registering to vote or signing candidate petitions.

But election officials later said Maine would need to amend its constitution to allow such a process for a direct initiative and people’s veto petitions.

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