Prior to and on statewide Elections Day, the MA Secretary of State’s Office publishes arguments for and against every ballot measure that is placed before the voters of the Commonwealth. In 2012, Massachusetts voters will decide on three ballot questions listed as:
- Question 1, Availability of Motor Vehicle Repair Information
- Question 2, Prescribing Medication to End Life and
- Question 3, Medical Use of Marijuana
Per Massachusetts General laws chapter 54, § 54, the SOS Elections Division has a mandate to “seek such arguments from the principal proponents and opponents of each initiative or referendum petition, legislative amendment, legislative substitute or other measure to be submitted to all the voters of the commonwealth… For purposes of this section, the principal proponents and opponents of a measure shall be those persons determined by the secretary to be best able to present the argument for and against the measure, respectively, at the time the measure is finally received by the secretary for submission to the voters” The law says, “In determining the principal proponents and opponents of a measure, the state secretary shall contact each nonelected political committee which is organized under the provision of chapter fifty-five and which is on file with the director of campaign and political finance to influence the outcome of such a measure.”
The Community Access Project submitted a FOIA via MuckRock.com, to answer these questions:
- Did the SOS’ office actually contact each nonelected political committee organized under M.G.L. 55, when determining the best proponent and opponent ballot question arguments to be submitted to all the voters of the commonwealth in 2012?
- If not, what standards and policies were used by SOS in selecting which committees and persons were “best able to present the argument for and against the measure” and in determining the final language for submission to the voters, for these November 2012 Massachusetts Ballot Questions?
For the current list of State Ballot Question Committees organized and on file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), see: http://www.efs.cpf.state.ma.us/RecentlyOrganized.aspx. Under the “Category” drop-down menu, then select: “State Ballot Question Committees.”