Questions on the Ballot (Updated)

Above: Southborough voters’ double-sided ballot will ask them to weigh in on five questions, though one is non-binding. (image cropped from specimen ballot)

Last week, I shared information for readers about options for voting early and by mail.

In that post, I provided information about all the candidates on the Southborough ballot. I forgot that voters should also be prepared to answer questions — and it turns out there are 5 of them.

Town Clerk Jim Hegarty shared a copy of what the ballot looks like (here).

Hegarty asked me to alert readers that if you received a ballot by mail, you can still choose to vote in-person at the Trottier Gym on election day instead. But you can’t bring that ballot to the gym.

Below is information on the Ballot Questions. The Links below for each question take you to the State’s page with more details on the question, plus the arguments for and against.

QUESTION 1: Proposed Amendment to the Constitution
Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars

A YES VOTE would amend the state Constitution to impose an additional 4% tax on that portion of incomes over one million dollars to be used, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature, on education and transportation.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the state Constitution relative to income tax.

QUESTION 2: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition
Regulation of Dental Insurance

A YES VOTE would regulate dental insurance rates, including by requiring companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on member dental expenses and quality improvements instead of administrative expenses, and by making other changes to dental insurance regulations.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the law relative to the regulations that apply to dental insurance companies.

QUESTION 3: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition
Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

A YES VOTE would increase the number of licenses a retailer could have for the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed off premises, limit the number of “all-alcoholic beverages” licenses that a retailer could acquire, restrict use of self-checkout, and require retailers to accept customers’ out-of-state identification.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws governing the retail sale of alcoholic beverages.

Question 4: Eligibility for Driver’s Licenses

Because this petition 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.

A YES VOTE would keep in place the law, which would allow Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license or permit if they meet the other requirements for doing so.

A NO VOTE would repeal this law.

Question 5: Legislative Transparency

Shall the representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of changes to the applicable House of Representative rules to make each Legislator’s vote in that body’s Legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature’s website?

I discovered this question by looking at the copy of the ballot provided by Jim Hegarty. It is not on the Commonwealth’s website. According to the League of Women Voter’s website, it is on the ballot in 20 districts.

I found this article from WBUR providing more context.

For a reminder of all the election details and candidates, click here.

Updated (10/24/22 10:24): I discovered Question 5 on the ballot.

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