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March 02, 2024 Clouds | 34°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 53: Mailing lists of voters; copies of measures, summaries, ballot question titles, statements and arguments to voters; public examination; petition for amendment

Section 53. The election commissioners in the city of Boston, at least twenty-four days, and the registrars of voters in every other city or town, at least ninety days, before the biennial state election, shall cause to be sent to the state secretary mailing lists of the voters whose names appear on the latest voting lists of their respective cities and towns, prepared as required by section fifty-five of chapter fifty-one and indicating, so far as practicable, those addresses that appear to be group residential quarters, with the number of registered voters residing at each such address, and shall promptly furnish him with subsequent additions to and corrections in such lists. The secretary shall cause to be printed and sent to all residential addresses and to each voter residing in group residential quarters, with copies of the measures to which they refer, a summary prepared by the attorney general, a ballot question title prepared jointly by the attorney general and state secretary, fair and neutral 1–sentence statements describing the effect of a yes or no vote prepared jointly by the attorney general and the state secretary, a statement of not more than 100 words prepared by the secretary of administration and finance regarding the fiscal consequences of the measure for state and municipal government finances and, as provided in section 54, arguments for and against measures to be submitted to the voters under Article XLVIII of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution. The secretary shall make available for public examination a copy of the ballot question titles, 1–sentence statements describing the effect of a yes or no vote and fiscal effect statements and shall publish them in the Massachusetts register by the second Wednesday in May. Any 50 voters may petition the supreme judicial court for Suffolk county to require that a title or statement be amended; provided, however, that the petition shall be filed within 20 days after the publication of the title and statement. The court may issue an order requiring amendment by the attorney general and the state secretary only if it is clear that the title, 1–sentence statement or fiscal effect statement in question is false, misleading or inconsistent with the requirements of this section.

The secretary shall also cause to be printed and sent in like manner any question to be placed on the ballot at a biennial state election for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the people upon a particular subject provided that such question is received by the secretary on or before the first Wednesday of July preceding such election. Any such question shall be presented as set forth in this section for measures submitted under Article XLVIII of the Amendments to the Constitution, provided that the publication and judicial review procedures set forth herein shall be inapplicable where questions are received by the secretary on or after the first Wednesday in May. This section shall not apply to a question of public policy filed in accordance with section nineteen of chapter fifty-three.