Confusion Over Massachusetts Ballot Question 4
Question 4 on the Massachusetts statewide ballot on November 8 is controversial. The question asks voters to determine if they want to keep or repeal a recently-enacted state law that grants illegal immigrants the right to apply for a Massachusetts driver's license.
The referendum is even more controversial in that it does not appear in the red Massachusetts Information For Voters guidebook with the other three statewide ballot questions distributed by Secretary of State William F. Galvin.
Galvin offers an explanation for the omission:
"On September 9, 2022, the Elections Division certified that a referendum petition for a ballot question that was submitted on September 7, 2022, had been signed by enough registered voters to qualify for placement on the November 8, 2022, State Election Ballot."
The explanation continues:
"Because it was submitted after the July 2022 deadline for inclusion in the printed Information For Voters booklet that is mailed to each household, this question is not listed in that voter guide. The question will, however, be listed on each November 8 State Election Ballot as Question 4."
Voters who have not read Question 4 in advance might be confused about what their vote will mean on election day.
Some folks have told me they believe a "YES" vote would be a vote to repeal the law. Just the opposite is true.
Question 4, as it appears on the statewide ballot reads:
"Do you approve of a law summarized below, which was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate on May 26, 2022?"
Question 4 actually asks if you want to keep the law and not do you want to repeal it. So voters who wish to allow illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts driver's license would vote "YES" on Question 4.
Those who wish to repeal the law and not allow illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts driver's license would vote "NO" on Question 4.
For an explanation of all of November 8, 2022, State Election Ballot Questions click here.
Voters in New Bedford and Fall River should also remember that a fifth ballot question will appear on local ballots on November 8 that will determine whether these communities will become districts of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority in advance of the launch of commuter rail scheduled for next year.