Maine gov vetoes bill to curb foreign vote influence

June 24, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s governor said Thursday she has vetoed a bill that was designed to curb foreign influence in statewide votes.

Supporters said the proposal was specifically designed to protect the integrity of public referendums in Maine. The bill, which passed the Maine Legislature, would stop businesses and other groups in which a foreign government has an interest of at least 10% from making contributions or expenditures to influence a citizen referendum.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills cited numerous reasons why she vetoed the bill. One was that businesses with foreign investments include major employers in Maine.

Mills also said the bill could have a negative impact on Maine voters. She wrote that government “is rarely justified in restricting the kind of information to which the citizenry should have access in the context of an election, and particularly a ballot initiative.”

Mills also said she felt the bill might not survive a constitutional challenge. She called on the Legislature to sustain the veto.