On a night that proved rather grim on the national level, Massachusetts showed itself to be a beacon of progressivism by voting #NNYY on the four ballot questions. Thank you everyone who took the time to volunteer and spread the word! The fight continues.
Get to Know the Ballot Measures
This November at the polls, we will vote on four statewide ballot measures.
Historically in Massachusetts, ballot measures have both propelled us forward as a state and hamstrung progressive change. That’s why your vote is key. Progressive Mass recommends NO on Question 1, NO on Question 2, YES on Question 3, and YES on Question 4.
We have offered detailed explanation of each question below. Full ballot measure text is available here (separate website).
Question 1 would allow the Gaming Commission to issue an additional slots license. -- VOTE NO
Question 2 would lift the cap on charter schools. --VOTE NO
Question 3 would ban methods of farm animal containment deemed inhumane. -- VOTE YES
Question 4 would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old. -- VOTE YES
Vote NO on Question 1 to prevent the expansion of predatory gambling.
Question 1 would authorize a license for an additional slots parlor. The 2011 gambling law allowed for up to three resort casinos and one slots parlor. Penn National Gaming currently holds the sole slots parlor license, for Plainridge Park Casino, which has faced declining revenue. Five casinos are already expected to open in the state by 2019, with unproven benefits. Moreover, the ballot question was written by the very real estate developer who plans to benefit from it (Eugene McCain, who has proposed such a site by Suffolk Downs), attempting to bypass the legislature and setting a troubling precedent.
Facts on Question 1:
- Fitch Ratings, U.S. Regional Gaming Weakness to Persist
- Plainridge Casino Revenue Drops for Fifth Straight Month
- Revere Leaders: Just Say ‘No’ to Ballot Question 1
Vote NO on Question 2 to protect our public schools.
Question 2 would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year, forever, without community input or additional funding. The charter schools authorized under Question 2 could open anywhere in the state, with no limits to how many could be opened in a single community. In 2017, charter schools will siphon off more than $450 million in funds that would otherwise stay in public schools despite serving only 4.2% of the state preK-12 public school population. Charter schools often do not take the students with the highest needs and tend to have harsh disciplinary practices, particularly targeted at students of color and students with learning disabilities. We need to be investing in our public schools to help improve opportunities for all of our students.
Facts about Charter Schools & Question 2:
- Mass Budget, “Charter School Funding, Explained”
- David Sweeney (CFO of Boston), "Analyzing the Fiscal Impact of Question 2"
- See how much money your city or town’s school district has lost to charter schools.
- Save Our Public Schools Fact Sheet
- Closer look at "Waiting Lists"
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Not Measuring Up: The State of School Discipline in Massachusetts
- Pat Jehlen, "If charters aren’t ‘draining’ district funding, then what shall we call money district loses?"
- Dan Wolf, "Question 2 neither thoughtful nor balanced"
- Jay Kauffman "Thoughts on Question 2"
- Maurice Cunningham, "Your Dark Money Reader"
Allies with No on 2
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
- Mel King (youtube)
- NAACP National and New England Chapters of the NAACP
- Jonathan Kozol
Over 200 local school boards and many more -- see "Save Our Public Schools" website
Allies with Yes on 2
Vote YES on Question 3 to protect farm animals, workers, and public health.
Question 3 would ban inhumane practices of farm animal containment in the sale of eggs, veal, or pork, specifically practices that “prevent a covered animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.” Cramming animals into cages so small that they can’t turn around or extend their limbs is bad for animals, bad for consumers, and bad for workers. The practices of farm animal containment that Question 3 seeks to ban have been shown to increase rates of Salmonella, a lead cause of food poisoning, as well as to exacerbate air and water pollution. Moreover, better conditions for farm animals lead to better conditions for the workers.
Facts about Question 3:
- Cage Confinement of Laying Hens Increases Salmonella Risk
- Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable” Risks to Public Health, Environment
- List of endorsements
- “Yes on 3!” for Farm Workers Fact Sheet
Vote YES on Question 4 to end the drug war.
Question 4 would legalize the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would provide for the regulation and taxation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products. Although Massachusetts has decriminalized possession, significant racial disparities exist in enforcement: in 2010, black individuals in Massachusetts were 3.9 times more likely to be arrested for possession than their white counterparts. Removing the penalties still associated with marijuana possession can help address this disparity, and Question 4 also contains provisions to promote participation in new marijuana businesses by people whose communities have suffered most from the drug war. The drug war has proven costly—in terms of lives ruined and heavy sums spent on policing and surveillance, and it’s time to render it a thing of the past, allocating money away from enforcing drug prohibition and toward investing in our communities.
Facts on Question 4 & Marijuana Legalization
- ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests”
- ACLU, "The War on Marijuana in Black and White: A Massachusetts Update"
- Drug Policy Alliance, “Marijuana Legalization in Washington State: One-Year Status Report”
- Marijuana May Alleviate America’s Opioid Crisis, New Study Suggests
- Marijuana May Be Even Safer Than Previously Thought, Researchers Say
- Now We Know What Happens to Teens When You Make Pot Legal
- Boston Globe, "Just Say 'Yes' on Question 4"
- Yes on 4 Fact Sheet