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Massachusetts Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment, Question 2 (2000)

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Articles of Amendment

The Massachusetts Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment, also known as Question 2, was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Massachusetts as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was approved.

The proposal amended the Massachusetts Constitution to limit the voting rights of incarcerated felons. Under the amendment, incarcerated felons were made ineligible to vote for Governor's Councillors, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, state attorney general, or United States senator or representative in Congress.

Election results

Question 2 (Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment)
Approveda Yes 1,648,447 60.30%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot was:

Do you approve of the adoption of an amendment to the constitution summarized below, which was approved by the General Court in joint sessions of the two houses on July 29, 1998 (yeas 155 – nays 34); and again on June 28, 2000 (yeas 144 – nays 45)?

A NO VOTE would make no change in the voting rights of incarcerated felons.

A YES VOTE would amend the constitution to limit the voting rights of incarcerated felons.[1][2]


The official ballot summary for Question 2 is available here.

Full text

The full text of the constitutional changes imposed by Question 2 is available here.

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The initiative was supported by Massachusetts House Minority Leader Francis L. Marini. Marini argued that it does not make sense to deprive prisoners of their liberty and "right to exercise control over their own life" while still allowing them the right to "exercise control over our lives by voting from prison." Marini encouraged voters to approve the initiative and "protect democracy's greatest gift--the right to vote, by reserving it for the law-abiding."[1]


The initiative was opposed by the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition. The organization argued that the Massachusetts Constitution clearly provides that prisoners have the right to vote, a right that was intended by the founders of Massachusetts and affirmed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1977. He also stated that no one has alleged that prisoner voting has harmed Massachusetts' democracy or social fabric. He claimed that very few prisoners vote and that there's no evidence that prisoner voting has negatively influenced any election.[1]

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