LWVMA Position on the Ballot Question Process

The members of LWVMA approved a new LWVMA position on the Ballot Question Process in Massachusetts at its 2019 state convention.  This was the culmination of a two-year state-wide study of the process, in which members of LWV of Amherst participated along with members of many other local Leagues in Massachusetts. 

Broadly, the League confirmed that it supports having a mechanism for three types of initiative petitions that may lead to statewide ballot questions: initiative for a law, initiative for a constitutional amendment, and referendum on an existing law.  In addition, the new positions makes a number of detailed recommendations, including

  • Voter information in the “Information for Voters” provided by the Secretary of the Commonwealth should include arguments in favor and against prepared by an unbiased independent source such as a citizen group appointed for that purpose, in addition to those prepared by the proponents and opponents;
  • Modification of the signature-gathering requirement that “not more than one-fourth of the certified signatures on any petition shall be those of registered voters of any one county”; and
  • Limiting the amount of money spent on ballot question campaigns.

In addition, members agreed that second round of signatures should not be required after the legislature has time to act on an initiative for a law.

A complete statement of the new position can be found here. Details of the study are at LWVA's ballot question study page.