Greenfield residents to vote on petition signature requirements for ballot questions

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Greenfield voters will have to decide whether to say yes or no to Question One on the 2021 ballot.

“A no vote on this question is important because it’s the consent of the governed that really matters,” said Al Norman, the Treasurer of the Fair Referendum Committee.

However, David Singer, on the Greenfield Charter Commission disagrees, “I say yes, you’ve got a fair referendum, you’ve got a fair ballot question.”

The ballot measure, approved unanimously by the Greenfield City Council in August, is the following:

“Should the Greenfield City Council seek to amend Section 7-8 of the City Charter to change the required number of signatures for Citizen Referendum Petitions by changing the current charter language from: “A number of voters equal to ten percent (10%) Of the total number of voters voting in the most recent biennial city election, but not less than two and one-half percent (2 1/2 %) Of all registered voters as of the same date.”

To: “A number of voters equal to seven percent (7%) Of the total number of voters registered to vote in the most recent biennial city election that occurred prior to the date when said signatures are filed with the City Clerk”?

Currently in Northampton, that percentage is set at 15 percent. Singer said voting yes will make things fair.

“Having a number as low as 350 people, you’re having the will of the minority frustrate the will of the majority,” said Singer.

However, Al Norman, the Treasurer of the Fair Referendum Committee said the City Council’s vote to put this on the ballot was a conflict of interest and it will take power away from voters. Like in the 90’s when he advocated against building a Walmart in Greenfield.

“Being able to get something on the ballot is the only way that citizens really can show that there’s a democratic support behind them,” he told 22News. “So it’s the only tool that we have and we want to make sure that it doesn’t get taken away from us.”

Click here for 2021 election information in Greenfield.

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