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Gov. Mills urges Mainers to vote no on vaccination law veto

Maine will have one question on the March 3 Primary ballot: do you want to reject a law that removes non-medical exemptions from vaccination laws?
Credit: AP Photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — In addition to voting for a Presidential Party Candidate in the Maine March 3 Primary, Mainers will vote on Question 1, a people’s veto about Maine vaccination laws.

The question is: “Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?”

The law in question was signed in last year by Gov. Janet Mills. It removes the non-medical exemptions from vaccination laws “in order to better protect the health and welfare of people, especially young children, across [Maine},” Mills said in a radio address Friday.

Voting ‘yes’ on the question would veto that law; voting ‘no’ would keep it in place.

Mills said, “Let’s protect our children. Let’s protect the future…vote No on 1.”

The People’s Veto petition was submitted to the Secretary of State on Sept. 18, to prevent the law from taking effect on Sept. 19. The campaign says it collected 78,000 verified petition signatures, well over the number required and was certified in October to be voted on in the statewide Primary election.

Maine has one of the worst kindergarten immunization rates in the nation, including the seventh-highest rate of vaccine exemptions. 5.3% of Maine kindergarteners are not immunized, and only 0.3% of those children opted out of immunization through medical exemptions. 

Before the new law was passed last year, Maine was one of 17 states in which families of school-aged children could request exemptions to school-required vaccines based on religious or philosophical beliefs.

“…Like every other Mainer, I also highly value personal choice. But, as your Governor, I am charged with protecting the health and safety of all Maine people, and amidst these outbreaks, it has become painfully clear that Maine laws have not adequately protected the health of Maine people,” Mills said.

The Primary Election will take place on March 3. 

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