Maine: Eliminate Foreign Influence in Elections
Campaign Status: Victory!
Question 2: “Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?”
Question 2 would eliminate foreign influence in Maine elections by instituting new restrictions on foreign governments from spending in Maine elections.
A FEC loophole allows foreign entities to engage in PAC spending on ballot questions. In 2021, a Canadian-owned pipeline funneled $22 million into a ballot question – more than doubling the previous record for referendum spending – brought by Maine voters to oppose an unpopular pipeline. Even though they were defeated at the ballot, foreign government interference in elections threatens democracy and national security.
After hearing from thousands of voters in support of the measure, the 131st Legislature enacted the bill with broad bipartisan support on July 6, 2023. However, despite that support in the legislature and near universal support among voters, the Governor vetoed LD 1610 and the Legislature failed to override the veto. The voters decided the fate of this measure in the form of Question 2 on the November 2023 ballot.
RepresentUs is working with Protect Maine Elections a Coalition that includes partners like the Democracy Maine, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Stand with Maine, and Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network to ensure foreign governments are limited in their ability to influence campaigns and elections.
Maine Question 2 passes with overwhelming voter approval, closing a campaign finance loophole that allowed foreign-owned entities to purchase influence in Maine referendum campaigns.
Ahead of the election, dozens of RepresentUs volunteers sent over 350,000 texts and made more than 25,000 phone calls in support of Question 2.
The Maine legislature held a public hearing on the bill where they heard from thousands of Mainers, including over two hours of public testimony. Support for the bill was significant in the public as seen in public polling and it gained bipartisan support in the legislature, resulting in the bill passing in early July 2023.
Despite the broad bipartisan support in the legislature and near universal support among voters, the Governor again vetoed the bill. The Legislature attempted to override the veto but fell just nine votes short.
Over 400 volunteers collected more than 80,000 signatures from Maine voters and submitted them to the Maine Secretary of State for validation. This action initiated a bill (LD 1610) that the legislature could pass outright or send to the ballot for voters to decide.
Frustrated by the governor’s veto and unwilling to give up on the legislation, a cross-partisan group formed Protect Maine Elections vowing to protect the state’s elections.
A piece of legislation that would ultimately become Question 2 was initially passed back in 2021 by the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor.
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The Latest On This Campaign
Question 2 passes, banning foreign electioneering in Maine
Nov 8 2023
The referendum is the first step in campaign funding reform, Bennett says. The ballot initiative also requires Maine's federal delegation to sponsor an anti-corruption resolution in Congress.Read More
Vote yes on Question 2 to preserve democracy
Sep 30 2023
Voters have a right to know who’s footing the bill when huge sums of money are being spent to influence our elections.Read More
Former Members Of Congress Announce Support For Protecting Maine Elections
Aug 31 2023
“The massive amount of dark money pouring into our elections is threatening the integrity of our democracy and I am grateful for the voters of Maine for initiating this critically important bill,” said former Congressman Tom Allen.Read More