Bill to safeguard Maine ballot initiatives enacted

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. John Baldacci says Maine’s century-old ballot initiative process is more secure now thanks to a bill that was enacted this spring.

Baldaccci joined sponsors of the legislation in his office Thursday for a ceremonial bill signing.

The bill was submitted after the town clerk in Greene, Sally Hebert, discovered bogus signatures on petitions last fall. Hebert also found a petition with 29 forged signatures. She then called state election officials.

The legislation that was finally passed requires companies that are paid to collect petition signatures to register with the Secretary of State.

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Critics worried that the bill would stifle the ballot-petition process, but Baldacci said Thursday that the bill strikes a careful balance.

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