Four Massachusetts initiatives still alive for ballot access
By Al Ortiz
BOSTON, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Secretary of State cleared 23 initiatives in early September for petition circulation in order to be placed on the 2012 ballot. Then, on November 23, the first of many petition drive deadlines passed, where supporters must have turned in signatures to local registrars.
Once the collected 68,911 signatures, submitted to local registrars by the deadline, were certified, they were then returned to supporters, who must next submit them to the state's elections office by December 7.
For now, only four ballot initiatives are left standing to possibly go on to the next part of the state initiative process.
The four measures include the "death with dignity" initiative, the proposal to require car manufacturers to give non-proprietary diagnostic directly to consumers to repair their cars, the initiative to create a new teacher evaluation process and the medical marijuana initiative.
The initiative process in the state of Massachusetts is among one of the most complicated in the country, leaving only a handful in recent years to go through the entire process. In 2010, thirty measures were filed, and only three made the ballot.
If the four measures' supporters turn signatures in by December 7, and signatures are approved, the initiatives are then sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly.
There, if the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must then gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks.
Validated signatures must then be turned in by the first Wednesday of July to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. Since the deadline falls on a national holiday, July 4, that deadline could be either July 3 or 5.