What was required to get Question 3 on the ballot?

  • To place Question 3 on the Massachusetts¬†statewide¬†ballot in 2010 for a vote of the citizens, its sponsors — the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes — had to first write the text of the proposed law and get it approved by the state Attorney General in the summer of 2009.
  • Then the Alliance and its supporters had to gather 111,000 voter signatures statewide over the span of two required petition drives: one in the fall of 2009 and another in the spring of 2010.
  • The first of the two drives was much more difficult, requiring 66,583 certified petition signatures. The Alliance collected 93,000 raw (pre-certification) signatures from voters across Massachusetts of which 74,131 were accepted by the state Elections Division in December.
  • In the spring, they had to go through this process again, so as to submit another 11,099 certified signatures. The Alliance collected another 18,000 raw signatures of which 14,004 were certified.
  • Massachusetts has some of the toughest petitioning requirements for ballot initiatives. For the fall petition, 93,000 signatures had to be collected from voters in each of the state’s 14 counties. They had to be entered on separate sheets for each of the state’s 351 cities and town. Petition sheets had to be kept free of stray marks to avoid disqualification. Each sheet had to be sorted by city or town, distributed to each of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth for certification, picked up from each of those 351 cities and towns, then submitted to the Elections Division in Boston for final certification. All this had to happen within 2-1/2 months between mid-September and early-December of 2009.
  • The Alliance also had to comply with financial reporting requirements, submit a summary of the law, and submit an Argument in Favor of Question 3 for the state’s voter guide.
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