Massachusetts petition drive deadline at doorstep of hotly-debated issues

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July 3, 2012


BOSTON, Massachusetts: Massachusetts has the most complex initiative process among the states with petition drive deadlines this week. Although today, July 3, is the deadline for initiatives with ambitions of making the fall ballot, the summer signature submission is the last of many hurdles proponents had to jump to get to this point.

Proponents of potential citizen-initiated measures must have collected 68,911 signatures by November 23, 2011 to turn them into local registrars. After it finding that enough valid signatures were collected, petitions are then returned to supporters, who this year had until the December 7, 2011 petition drive deadline to turn those signatures in to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office.

Once signatures are deemed valid, proposed laws are then sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly for consideration.

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. This amounts to about 11,000 signatures

Only four initiatives, out of the original 31 that were proposed for circulation with the Massachusetts Attorney General, made it to the state legislature, and three are currently in the second signature phase.

Two initiatives, a "right to repair" proposal and teacher evaluation initiative, were considered by the lawmaking body, with the "right to repair" initiative being rejected. Therefore, supporters of that plan are gathering signatures.

The other two proposals include a medical marijuana initiative and a "death with dignity" act.

Editor's Note: Deadline is usually first Wednesday of July. However, Massachusetts deadline is on July 3 due to the July 4 holiday.

Initiative tracking

Three measures are expected to submit signatures today to the Massacusetts Secretary of State, according to reports. The table below will track signature submissions until the end of the business day in Massachusetts.[1]

See also

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