Ballot Initiative Primer

Friends of the Family,

I have told you briefly about some of the initiative petitions that you may run into while going to the grocery store or post office, but I think it is important that you as a voter know all of the petitions that concern traditional family values.

In August, there were 31 petitions filed with the Attorney General for her approval of the language and content. Of the measures filed, Attorney General Martha Coakley certified twenty-three. This gives the green light to supporters of these ballot initiatives to begin collecting signatures on September 21 and ending November 23.

We have compiled a list on our website of all twenty-three, specifically highlighting those that are of interest to values voters. You can view this list HERE. Let me take a moment to point out the most critical:

  • Petition #11-03 – Petition for a Constitutional Amendment Relative to the Provision of Health Insurance – This amendment would create a universal healthcare mandate in the state constitution. MFI opposes this ballot initiative.
  • Petition #11-11 – An Initiative Petition for the Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana – This petition would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. MFI opposes this ballot initiative.
  • Petition #11-12 – An Initiative Petition for an Act Relative to Death with Dignity – This petition would legalize physician-assisted suicide. MFI opposes this ballot initiative.
  • Petition #11-20 – An Initiative Petition for an Act Promoting Excellence in Public Schools – This petition would change the current evaluation system used in local school districts and implement a state-wide evaluation system. It would further erode local school board autonomy and MFI opposes this ballot initiative.
  • Petition #11-23 – An Initiative Petition to Repeal the Individual Mandate in the Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care – This petition was written by Massachusetts Citizens for Life to repeal the individual mandate put into law by the universal healthcare bill. MFI supports this initiative.

As you can see from this list, there are some very negative petitions being circulated right now and you should read any petitions that you are asked to sign very carefully. The most egregious is the so-called “Death with Dignity” bill. This is an anti-life bill that would create government-endorsed killing in Massachusetts.

The road to ballot access for all the approved questions is a very steep one, and historically most groups fail to garner the signatures necessary to move the effort forward. Each proposed question is required to collect nearly 69,000 signatures from registered voters, and far more than that number in raw signatures are usually needed to ensure the enough valid signatures are collected.

If any of these petitions do receive the required signatures, the Legislature will then be given the chance to act to approve the content of the petition. If they do not, supporters are then required to conduct another, smaller petition drive and if that is successful, the question will appear on the ballot in November 2012.

As this process moves forward MFI will continue to keep you informed. Please inform your family and neighbors of the petitions that are out there and always be careful when signing a petition.

For our families,


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