Lawmakers to again consider bill to eliminate withdrawal voter-turnout requirement
Augusta — Lawmakers will again consider a bill to eliminate the voter-turnout requirement for towns seeking to withdraw from a Regional School Unit.
The bill, LD 783 “An Act To Change the Voting Requirements for the Withdrawal of a Municipality from a Regional School Unit,” would change an existing law that requires at least 50 percent of the voters who cast a ballot in the most recent gubernatorial election vote either for or against withdrawing.
If the 50-percent threshold is met, a majority vote is needed to approve or deny the withdrawal effort.
According to the text of the bill, there is a provision under the existing law that starting Jan. 1, 2015, any withdrawal effort must be passed by a two-thirds vote, but there would be no requirement regarding the number of votes that need to be cast.
If approved, LD 783 would allow a town to leave an RSU with a majority vote and it would eliminate the voter turnout requirement.
A withdrawal effort by the former School Administrative District 34 towns, Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Northport and Searsmont, ultimately failed after four of the six towns failed to meet the 50-percent voter-turnout threshold, despite strong support in favor of withdrawal by those who voted.
The Education and Cultural Affairs committee voted on Wednesday, Jan. 15, to recommend the legislature pass the bill.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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