In Massachusetts, running a petition initiative to put a question on the ballot is difficult. There are only a few months to gather signatures and then they must be collected by the campaign organizers from the registrars and given to the Secretary of State. Driving all over to get a few signatures here and there wastes time and gas. This bill addresses that issue, and also addresses payments to signature gatherers to support transparency.
This bill does the following:
An Act Allowing delivery of ballot question petitions to the Secretary of State by registrars and restricting payments per signature
Section 22A of Chapter 53 of the General Laws Part I Title VIII is hereby amended by striking the third sentence and inserting thereof the following paragraphs:-
Petition circulators shall not be paid anything of value per signature gathered, although this shall not prohibit payment of salary and expenses that are not related to the number of signatures obtained. Each initiative and referendum petition shall prominently state whether the petition circulator is paid to circulate petitions and paid petition circulators shall wear a badge informing the public that the petition is being circulated by a paid circulator.
Registrars shall provide a receipt in writing for each initiative or referendum petition submitted to and received by them. In no case shall any signatures be denied merely because of messy extraneous marking upon the forms for initiative or referendum petitions, so long as the information necessary for confirming signatures remains legible.
Based on the decision of the original 10 signatories of each petition, printed on the petition shall be a notice as to whether Registrar’s shall deliver petitions directly to the Secretary of State or return such petitions only on receiving written receipts or other identification acceptable to the registrars.