From repairing your ride to medical marijuana to physician-assisted suicide, this year’s Massachusetts ballot questions offer plenty of incentive to get out and rock the vote.
Chances are you’ve got a pretty good idea who you’ll be voting for in this year’s presidential election. You’ve waded through the rhetoric, tolerated the countless campaign ads and weathered the debates.
That’s all well and good. (Seriously, if you’re still an undecided vote by this point, you might be best served just flipping a coin.) But what about the questions that pertain to Massachusetts specifically? Do you know the other offices up for grabs in the state we all call home? Believe it or not, Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren aren’t the only candidates in Massachusetts vying for our votes come Tuesday.
If you’re like me, you’ve shown up to the polls before and been confronted by a list of names and a battery of questions you not only know next to nothing about, but you’ve likely never seen before. This, my friends, is no way to vote. If you’re going to do it–and we think it’s commendable of you to do so–why not do it right … right?
A great resource to educate yourself on who’s running for what here in Massachusetts is the website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Galvin. Simply enter your address and you’ll get the specific place to vote as well as a sample ballot listing all the questions pertinent to your district and county. For an example, check out this sample ballot for Medford. Until an hour ago, I had no idea I’d be voting on a sheriff.
Before you head out to vote, I’d encourage you to scan the sample ballot for your district so you have an idea of what you’ll be seeing. In the meantime, check out a brief primer on the ballot questions below.
Question 1, also known as the “Right to Repair” initiative, pertains to all car owners and potential future car owners. A ‘Yes’ vote would:
enact the proposed law requiring motor vehicle manufacturers to allow vehicle owners and independent repair facilities in Massachusetts to have access to the same vehicle diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturers’ Massachusetts dealers and authorized repair facilities.
Essentially, this law would afford Massachusetts automobile owners the same access to repair and diagnostic information that the dealers get. The Right to Repair Coalition is the main proponent, citing the laws’ ability to expand consumer choice and empower private repair shops. Opponents claim private repair shops already have access to this information.
Also known as the “Death with Dignity” initiative, Question 2 would allow a physician licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication to a terminally ill patient that would end that patient’s life. In order to qualify, the patient would have to be an adult resident who,
(1) is medically determined to be mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions; (2) has been diagnosed by attending and consulting physicians as having an incurable, irreversible disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, cause death within six months; and (3) voluntarily expresses a wish to die and has made an informed decision.
Main supporters of this initiative, including The Massachusetts Death with Dignity Coalition among many others, contend that the patient should have “dignity, control and peace of mind” during their final days. Opposition is also abundant, including the group No on Question 2, and cites concerns including public safety oversight once the lethal drug is disseminated.
Lastly, Question 3, or the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, would effectively legalize medical marijuana use for qualifying patients, or those who have been “diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis.” Additionally, the patient would also have to obtain
a written certification, from a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the patient has a specific debilitating medical condition and would likely obtain a net benefit from medical use of marijuana.
According to reports, the National Organization for Positive Medicine hopes to establish a “marijuana compassion center” in Wakefield, Mass., should the initiative pass. Opponents of the initiative include the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. Wayne Sampson, executive director, said: “We’re very concerned that it is so loosely written, relative to who can obtain it and for what reasons.”
Do you think of these questions are important for Massachusetts voters?
Update: While there are three binding statewide ballot questions (detailed above), some of you will likely see a couple additional questions as well asking about potential votes required of your district’s state senator and state representative, both of which will require a Yes or No vote from you.
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