Mainers will likely have final vote on vaccine exemptions

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) Organizers of an effort in Maine to restore religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccines have turned in petitions aimed at putting it to a statewide vote.

Mainers for Health and Parental Rights said more than 77,000 valid signatures were delivered to the secretary of state's office ahead of the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline. Those will have to be validated by the state.

Groups had to submit more than 63,000 signatures from registered voters to stop the laws from going into effect until a statewide vote. Efforts to undo the Death With Dignity Act and stop taxpayer funding for abortions came up short.

The votes would take place either in March during presidential primaries or during June primaries and municipal elections. The timing of the vote depends on a petition drive aimed at scuttling the presidential primary law.