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Massachusetts signature requirements

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Signature requirements
(By state)

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This page details Massachusetts signature requirements. In many states, the signatures of registered voters must be collected to place candidates or initiatives on the ballot. However, for candidates, filing fees are sometimes required or accepted in lieu of signatures.

Federal offices

U.S. Senate

Partisan candidates for Senate must submit 10,000 signatures to the Secretary of State and must fulfill residency requirements.[1] They must be a United States citizen for the past 9 years, and an inhabitant of Massachusetts when elected.[1]

Candidates who are not enrolled in any political party, sometimes referred to as unenrolled, independent, minor-party candidates or political designation, must still submit the 10,000 signatures by the filing deadline for non-party candidates.[1] However, the candidates name will not appear on the primary ballot, only on the general election ballot.[1] Non-party candidates seeking to have their name printed on the ballot for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between March 6, 2012 and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[1]

U.S. House

Partisan candidates for House must submit 2,000 signatures to the Secretary of State and residency requirements.[1] They must be a United States citizen for the past 7 years and an inhabitant of Massachusetts when elected.[1]

Candidates who are not enrolled in any political party, sometimes referred to as unenrolled, independent, minor-party candidates or political designation, must still submit the 2,000 signatures by the filing deadline for non-party candidates.[1] However, the candidates name will not appear on the primary ballot, only on the general election ballot.[1] Non-party candidates seeking to have their name printed on the ballot for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between March 6, 2012 and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[1]

Filing deadlines

2012

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 U.S. Congress elections

Partisan candidates had to submit signatures and fulfill residency requirements by June 5, 2012.[1]

Non party candidates had to submit signatures, fulfill residency requirements, and show proof of no party registration by August 28, 2012.[1]

State offices

Statewide executive offices

Partisan candidates for Governor of Massachusetts and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts must submit 10,000 signatures and fulfill residency requirements.[2] Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor must have lived for the past 7 years in Massachusetts.[2]

Partisan candidates for Attorney General must submit 10,000 signatures and fulfill residency requirements.[2] Candidates for Attorney General must have lived for the past 5 years in Massachusetts.[2]

Partisan candidates for Secretary of Commonwealth, Treasurer, and Auditor must submit 5,000 signatures and fulfill residency requirements.[2] Candidates must have lived for the past 5 years in Massachusetts.[2]

State legislature

State Senate

Partisan candidates for State Senate must submit 300 signatures to the Secretary of State and must fulfill residency requirements.[1] They must have lived for 5 years in Massachusetts and an inhabitant of district when elected.[1]

Candidates who are not enrolled in any political party, sometimes referred to as unenrolled, independent, minor-party candidates or political designation, must still submit the 300 signatures by the filing deadline for non-party candidates.[1] However, the candidates name will not appear on the primary ballot, only on the general election ballot.[1] Non-party candidates seeking to have their name printed on the ballot for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between March 6, 2012 and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[1]

State House

Partisan candidates for House must submit 150 signatures to the Secretary of State and residency requirements.[1] They must have lived for one year in district.[1]

Candidates who are not enrolled in any political party, sometimes referred to as unenrolled, independent, minor-party candidates or political designation, must still submit the 150 signatures by the filing deadline for non-party candidates.[1] However, the candidates name will not appear on the primary ballot, only on the general election ballot.[1] Non-party candidates seeking to have their name printed on the ballot for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between March 6, 2012 and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[1]

Candidates who are not enrolled in any political party, sometimes referred to as unenrolled, independent, minor-party candidates or political designation, must still submit the signature requirements for the indicated office by the filing deadline for non-party candidates.[1] However, the candidates name will not appear on the primary ballot, only on the general election ballot.[1] Non-party candidates seeking to have their name printed on the ballot for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between March 6, 2012 and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[1]

Filing deadlines

2012

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections

Partisan candidates for State Senate and State House had to submit signatures and fulfill residency requirements by June 5, 2012.[1]

Non party candidates for State Senate and State House had to submit signatures, fulfill residency requirements, and show proof of no party registration by August 28, 2012.[1]

Note: There were no statewide offices up for election in 2012.

Ballot measures

Signatures in Massachusetts must equal 3% of votes cast for governor in the last election. This is the lowest percentage requirement for a constitutional amendment for any of the initiative or referendum states.

Signature requirements

Current requirement

Since Massachusetts employs an indirect initiative process, the General Court has an opportunity to adopt proposed laws and amendments before they move to a popular vote. However, unlike other states, Massachusetts requires additional signatures following legislative inaction.

For an amendment or statute, signatures must equal 3% of votes cast for governor in the most recent election (excluding blanks). If the legislature declines to act on a proposed statute, supporters are required to collect a second round of signatures totaling 0.5% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent election (excluding blanks). For proposed amendments, one-quarter of the legislature must approve the petition in a joint session -- a second round of signatures is not required.

For a veto referendum, signatures must equal 1.5% of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent election. No more than one-fourth of these certified signatures may come from any one county. If the petitioners request suspension of the law in writing, signatures are required totaling 2% of the total votes cast for governor in the last election.

Year Amendment or Statute Statute add-on Veto referendum Veto referendum (suspension of law)
2014 68,911 11,485 34,456 45,941
2012 68,911 11,485 34,456 45,941
2010 66,593 11,099 33,297 44,396
2008 66,593 11,099 33,297 44,396

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Parts IV-V & Article LXXXI, Section 2

Distribution requirement

See also: Distribution requirement

The state of Massachusetts has two distinct distribution requirements:

  • No more than 25% of signatures may be from one county in all types of petitions.
  • No more than one-quarter (17,228 for 2010) of the certified signatures may come from any one county.

Basis for calculation

Actual requirements

The following signature requirements were needed and steps were to be taken in order to place an initiative on the ballot in 2010:

  • Supporters must have collected a minimum of 66,593 valid signatures from registered voters by December 2, 2009; except for veto referenda, where they must have collected 33,297 signatures.
  • The approved measures were then reviewed by the Legislature.
  • If the Massachusetts Legislature did not approve of the initiative by the May 4, 2010 deadline, petition organizers must then obtain signatures from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and submit to city and town clerks by June 23, 2010.
  • Clerks had until the July 2, 2010 deadline to validate those signatures.

Signature deadlines

2012

The deadline to submit signatures for the 2012 ballot in Massachusetts was August 1, 2012[5].

2010

For the 2010 ballot, petitions must be submitted to the Local Registrars of Voters at least 14 days before the first Wednesday in December for verification, with the exception of Boston, which will be 10 days earlier. Once signatures are verified by the Local Registrars of Voters, proponents have until the first Wednesday in December to submit them to the Secretary of State.

See also

External links

References