BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Right now the Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the thirteen questions that have been proposed for the 2020 ballot, but there are several key steps that need to happen in order for Massachusetts voters to see them.
The long process of approving ballot questions begins at the Attorney General’s office where citizens and organizations file their official proposals.
After it’s been determined that the questions meet certain criteria, sponsors must collect over 80 thousand signatures in support of the policy change.
“Now the signatures are set by the number of people who voted in the last statewide election which was a very high number, so as a result, the number of signatures required this year was much higher than it has been in recent times,” Secretary Galvin told 22News.
Petitioners can begin collecting signatures on September 4, but they only have about three months to file them with local election officials.
If all of the signatures are collected the proposals then go to the Secretary of State’s office where they separate constitutional amendments from simple statutory changes.
The constitutional amendments which can oftentimes require additional funding will have to get 50 votes in two legislative sessions in order to make it on the ballot.
Lawmakers get the chance to review statutory changes but they can only vote for or against it, they can’t make changes to the initial question.
Even though the process is long many people file bills 15 times before they are passed by the legislature, so this process is still used as a faster way to make policy changes.