Massachusetts bill would more than double initiative signature requirements

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March 24, 2011


BOSTON, Massachusetts: Proposing an initiative in the state of Massachusetts is a process that is composed of multiple steps. Now, State Representative Denise Provost is proposing to add on to one of those steps. Provost is sponsoring a bill that would increase the number of petition signatures needed to have a proposed initiative considered for the ballot.[1]

According to current state law, the total amount of signatures needed for ballot consideration is at least 3 percent of the number of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The current bill, if passed, would raise that requirement to 7 percent.

The steps to qualify initiatives in Massachusetts include filing ballot language with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, collecting signatures through circulation of petitions and turning in those signatures, which currently is at 3 percent requirement. If the Secretary of State verifies enough signatures have been collected, the initiative is then sent to the Massachusetts Legislature for review. If the legislature does not enact the initiative into a law, petition organizers must then collect signatures from 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. If signatures are collected and verified, the measure is then placed on the general election ballot of that year.

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