KITTERY, Maine — A rally will be held at the Kittery Community Center on June 29 to garner southern York County support for a state and national initiative that proponents say will work to take money out of politics.
At the event, petitions will be available on initiatives to increase funding for the Maine Clean Election Fund, and to set in motion the steps necessary to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
“Most of the people I talk to said they see every day the effect of billionaires’ money flooding the system,” said Debby Ronnquist of Kittery, who along with fellow resident Nancy Hoop is leading the effort in town to collect the signatures. They are among a number of southern York County residents who are collecting signatures on the petitions.
Earlier this month, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections launched a citizens petition to strengthen Maine’s Clean Election Act, which seeks to ensure clean election candidates are able to secure additional money in elections against privately funded candidates.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down Maine’s provision to allow additional matching funds. Under the initiative, the state would increase its contribution to the clean elections fund by $1 million annually, for total spending of $6 million over a two-year budget cycle. This would increase the amount that state House and Senate clean election candidates would receive.
“Maine has been a leader in clean elections and the rest of the country is counting on Maine to reinstate clean elections in our state,” Hoop said.
The group hopes to gather 70,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot next year.
At the rally, there will also be petitions that seek an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would essentially overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that allows unlimited campaign spending.
“This is about dark money. It’s about not being accountable for the money you give,” Ronnquist said. “We want to know who is paying for the ads we see. That’s going to influence how people vote once they get into office.”
A constitutional amendment can only occur by a vote of two-thirds of both houses of Congress or by a constitutional convention convened by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.
The petitions being circulated in Maine seek to require the Maine Legislature to vote to convene a constitutional convention.
Hoop and Ronnquist will be at Kittery town elections Tuesday, June 10th, and at the Kittery Block Party on Saturday, June 21st
The rally at the Kittery Community Center will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 29th, 2014