LWV Studying the MA Ballot Question Process

NEW: Details now being posted on our Ballot Question Study page.

Citizen-initiated ballot questions are democracy in operation. In 2019, it will be a century since the citizen-initiated ballot question entered Massachusetts's constitution. But do our state's procedures work as well as they could (and should) to enable us to express our political will? In 2019, it will be a century since the citizen-initiated ballot question entered Massachusetts's constitution.

The Massachusetts League of Women Voters, which includes all members of the Amherst League, is studying whether we should start to work for improvements in this procedure. A study committee, formed after the last State Convention, has prepared an extensive list of resources, including a background study report and a study guide that includes pros and cons for the fifteen consensus questions along with additional resources.

Save the dates for the Amherst consensus meetings: Thursday, January 24, 2-4 p.m. and Saturday, January 26, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Snow dates the next week on the same days and times.) Because of the number of questions and the unfamiliarity of the issues to some of us, consideration of the questions will be divided between these two meetings. If time permits, each meeting will deal with all 15 questions, but each meeting will focus on a subset of the questions to ensure that all are covered in sufficient depth.

  • The Thursday meeting will focus on ways the questions could be presented to be more easily and fully understood (questions 1-5) and on the requirements (or lack thereof) for signatures (6-8) and, if possible, also signature-gathering (questions 9-10).
  • The Saturday meeting will focus on the role of the legislature (11 & 12) and campaign financing of ballot questions (13 &14), as well as any questions not covered on Thursday.

Both meetings will discuss the general question (15): should we continue to have citizen-initiated ballot questions.

If you wish to weigh in on all fifteen questions and can't attend both meetings, consider attending the Consensus meeting of a neighboring League. Members of the LWV can attend and participate in any League's consensus meeting. Franklin County is having its meeting on Sunday, January 13, at 170 Main St., Greenfield, time TBD, while Northampton and Springfield will be meeting Saturday, February 2 from 10 am to 2 p.m. in the Florence Civic Center.

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