‘No Labels’ seeking party spot on 2024 Maine ballot

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 11:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A political organization trying to get onto 2024 ballots across America as a party has had issues doing so in Maine.

“We want to see bipartisanship,” ‘No Labels’ national co-chair Dr. Benjamin Chavis said. “We want to see a return to civility. We want to see a return to people working together across political lines.”

These are the guiding principles of ‘No Labels’ - a 13-year-old political organization.

They’ve run into some trouble getting on Maine ballots.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows issued a cease-and-desist letter after some of the 6,000 Maine voters who registered with ‘No Labels’ said they believed they were singing a petition - not changing parties.

“We had multiple clerks reporting many voters saying that they were misled,” Bellows said.

‘No Labels’ denies that premise.

“We were a little taken aback by Secretary of State Bellows’ recent letter,” Chavis said. “We’re hoping that the Secretary of State will finally approve our filing. There’s nothing wrong, we followed the law.”

“It’s a relatively simple form,” former Maine state senator Dick Woodbury (I) said. “So, I was a little surprised that there was a concern that people weren’t aware of what they were doing.”

“Our concern lies in the conversations that volunteers and staff may have been having with voters because of the number and consistency of the complaints,” Bellows said.

Bellows says any voters who may have inadvertently changed their party should see their local clerk - but it’s not an instant process.

“Under the law, the voter, once they’ve signed the form, they don’t have the right to change their mind for three months. If you’ve changed from Democrat or Republican to ‘No Labels,’ that means you’ve changed your ability to vote in a primary.”

Chavis is looking for two things - confirmation to the ballot, and a new statement from Bellows.

“I’m looking for the Secretary of State now to issue a new statement that, based on her review, that everything that No Labels did was proper, that everything No Labels has done is legal,” Chavis said. “And then we all move forward working together. Democrats, Republicans and Independents - No Labels - all working together.”

Maine would become the fifth state to place ‘No Labels’ on its ballot, after Arizona, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon.