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Stories about Massachusetts

All candidates for Massachusetts House of Representatives 10th Norfolk District complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Massachusetts House of Representatives 10th Norfolk District— incumbent Jeffrey Roy (D) and Charles F. Bailey III (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Massachuset’s state legislature. Massachusetts is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

Roy:   

  • “Since 2013, Jeff has been part of a legislative team that has addressed the issues of education, economic development, the coronavirus pandemic, health care, substance use disorder, criminal justice, civil rights and social equity, gun safety, energy, and the environment.”
  • “I have led efforts to draft and pass the clean energy and offshore wind bill in 2022; draft and pass the Genocide Education Act; finalize the Roadmap Bill on climate change…”
  • “With 10 years of experience at the State House, 14 years of local government experience, and 36 years as an attorney, I know first-hand how state government can help and hurt our communities.”

Bailey:           

  • “I am of the people, for the people.”
  • “I will lead by example.”
  • “I hold myself and others accountable for their actions and inaction.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Massachusets House of Representatives elections, 2022



Campaigns supporting and opposing Massachusetts ballot questions report over $57.2 million in contributions

The campaigns registered to support and oppose the four ballot questions in Massachusetts reported over $57.2 million in cash and in-kind contributions as of Oct. 20.

With $24.7 million raised by support committees and $13.7 million raised by the opposition, Massachusetts Question 1 is the most expensive legislative referral of the 2022 election cycle with a total of $38.4 million in contributions. 

There are three committees registered to support Question 1, which would enact an additional tax of 4% for income over $1 million and allocate the revenue towards education and transportation purposes. The top donors to the support committees were Massachusetts Teachers Association ($11.3 million), National Education Association ($7 million), and Sixteen Thirty Fund ($1.1 million).

There are two committees registered to oppose Question 1. The top donors included James Davis ($2 million), Paul and Sandra Edgerley ($2 million), Suffolk Construction Co. ($1 million), and Robert Kraft’s Rand-Whitney Containerboard ($1 million).

Question 2, a ballot initiative to set a medical loss ratio on dental insurance plans, has five committees registered to support and oppose the measure. The three registered in support of the measure received a total of $7.8 million in contributions with top donations from the American Dental Association($5.1 million), Mouhab Rizkallah ($2.4 million), and the Massachusetts Dental Society ($252,250). The two opposition committees reported nearly $7.7 million. The top donors included Dental Service of Massachusetts ($4.5 million), Principal Life Insurance ($962,524), and Metropolitan Life Insurance ($886,348).

Two committees registered to support and oppose Question 3, which would change the number of retail alcohol licenses allowed under state law. The support committee, 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform Committee, reported nearly $1 million in contributions with the most contributions from Massachusetts Package Stores Association ($640,380). Food Stores For Consumer Choice was registered to oppose Question 3 and had reported $12.50 in in-kind contributions.

Two committees also registered to support and oppose Question 4, a veto referendum on a law that would change who is authorized to receive a driver’s license or vehicle registration. The support committee, Yes for Work and Family Mobility, reported $2.3 million in contributions. The top donors included various chapters of SEIU and Arbella Insurance Group. The opposition committee, Fair and Secure Massachusetts, which led the signature-gathering campaign to put the referendum on the ballot, reported $185,106 in contributions from various individuals.

Massachusetts also requires organizations that make independent expenditures in support of or opposition to ballot questions to report those amounts. Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance reported spending $7,158.07 on Question 1 and $6,411.77 on Questions 2, 3, and 4. Massachusetts Fine Wines & Spirits, LLC (Total Wine) reported $2.6 million in opposition to Question 3. These numbers are not reflected in the committee totals above.

In 2020, the support and opposition campaigns surrounding the two Massachusetts ballot initiatives that appeared on the ballot raised $61.6 million.



All candidates for Massachusetts Governor’s Council District 7 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Massachusetts Governor’s Council District 7 — incumbent Paul DePalo (D) and Gary Galonek (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

The Massachusetts Governor’s Council is a state executive advisory board in the Massachusetts state government consisting of eight elected members. The lieutenant governor serves as an ex officio member of the council. The council records advice and consent regarding gubernatorial appointments, warrants for the state treasury, and pardons and commutations.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

DePalo:           

  • “Address youth trauma in our justice system. Get kids on paths of opportunity, not incarceration.”
  • “Mental health and addiction treatment are part of public safety. We need experts throughout the system.”
  • “Defend choice and human rights. Protect bodily autonomy and lgbtq rights.”

Galonek:

  • “There is currently no reaged for the work of the men and women of law enforcement, or victim’s rights, on the governor’s Council.”
  • “There is a lack of transparency on the current GC. They voted to stop livestreaming hearings back in April of 2022, and only began livestreaming them again after intense pressure form the media.”
  • “This council is far more concerned with the comfort and rights of the accused and the incarcerated than they are of the victims and the lifelong trauma they have to deal with as the result of violent crimes.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

Massachusetts Governor’s Council elections, 2022



All candidates for Massachusetts House of Representatives 9th Norfolk District complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Massachusetts House of Representatives 9th Norfolk District — Kevin Kalkut (D) and Marcus Vaughn (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Massachusetts’ state legislature. Massachusetts is one of 13 states under a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?       

Kalkut:       

  • “Once-in-a-Generation levels of investment are being made at the federal level in our communities through relief and infrastructure programs.”
  • “The preservation of the natural characteristics of this district needs to be balanced against the growing need for affordable housing options.” 
  • “Our schools and educational systems have supported our children through impossible conditions.”

Vaughn:       

  • “Protect Your Tax Dollars”
  • “Defend Public Safety”
  • “Promote Local Buisnesses”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

Massachusetts House of Representatives elections, 2022



Referendum to repeal a Massachusetts law related to driver’s license applications qualifies for the November ballot

On Sept. 9, the Massachusetts Elections Division announced that a veto referendum to repeal House Bill 4805 (H 4805) had qualified for the November ballot as Question 4.

H 4805 would prohibit registrars from inquiring about an applicant’s citizenship or immigration status when applying for driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registrations. It would also authorize registrars to accept certain documents to verify the identity and date of birth of an applicant. 

H 4805 would require one of the documents to be either a valid unexpired foreign passport or a valid unexpired Consular Identification document. The bill would require the second document to be a valid unexpired driver’s license from any U.S. state or territory, an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, a valid unexpired foreign national identification card, a valid unexpired foreign driver’s license, or a marriage certificate or divorce decree issued by any state or territory of the United States.

If not repealed, the law would take effect on July 1, 2023.

The targeted law was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Barker (R), who supports the repeal effort. Massachusetts requires a two-thirds majority in the state legislature to override a veto. At the time of the override vote, Democrats held such a majority.

In the Senate, the override passed by a 32-8 margin, with 32 Democrats voting to override and five Democrats joining all three Republicans to sustain Baker’s veto. The House voted 119-36 to override the veto, with eight Democrats joining all 28 Republicans to sustain the veto.

In Massachusetts, the number of signatures required to qualify a veto referendum for the ballot is equal to 1.5% of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. The petition was filed on June 15 by Fair and Secure Massachusetts, the PAC registered in support of a ‘no’ vote on Question 4. On Sept. 7, 2022, nearly 80,000 of the 100,000 signatures filed with local clerks were verified and submitted to the secretary of state. The Elections Division announced that the campaign had submitted 71,883 valid signatures.

Fair and Secure Massachusetts reported receiving nearly $50,000 in contributions as of Sept. 9. The committee has received endorsements from State Rep. Colleen Garry (D), State Rep. Marc Lombardo (R), and Republican candidate for governor, Geoff Diehl.

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D), who supports upholding H 4805, said, “We know in other states that have passed this bill, passed a form of driver’s licenses for immigrants, that hit-and-run accidents go down by 10 percent.”

Massachusetts voters will also be deciding on three other ballot measures. Question 1 would increase the state income tax from 5% to 9% for income above $1 million and dedicate the additional tax revenue to education and transportation purposes. Question 2 would enact a medical loss ratio of 83% for dental insurance plans beginning on January 1, 2024. Question 3 would incrementally increase the combined number of retail beer and wine licenses and all alcoholic beverage licenses an establishment could own from no more than 12 in 2023 to no more than 18 by 2031.

In Massachusetts, a total of 72 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Thirty-eight ballot measures were approved, and 34 ballot measures were defeated.

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Incumbent Galvin defeats Sullivan in Massachusetts’ secretary of state Democratic primary

Incumbent William Galvin defeated Tanisha Sullivan in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts secretary of state on Sept. 6. Galvin was first elected secretary of state in 1994 and won re-election in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018.

Galvin will face Rayla Campbell—who was unopposed in the Republican primary—in the general election for secretary of state on Nov. 8.

Before being elected secretary of state, Galvin worked at a car dealership, as an aide on the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, and served as a state Representative. He had faced Democratic primary opposition in two previous re-election campaigns—defeating John Bonifaz, 83% to 17%, in 2006 and Josh Zakim, 67% to 33%, in 2018. Matt Stout of the Boston Globe wrote in April 2022 that Galvin was “the only incumbent Democratic secretary of state being targeted within his own party.”

Galvin had said his experience was important given the increased focus on elections, saying to the Boston Globe, “This is a critical time for democracy. That’s why I think I can provide a unique service. Probably the biggest shift is the national climate, the importance of elections. I believe I can continue to do it effectively. I don’t believe anyone else can [do it as well] at this point.”

In June 2022, Sullivan received the Democratic Party’s official endorsement with the support of 62.4% of delegates at the state convention. According to Colin A. Young of the State House News Service, Sullivan “was supported by more than 2,500 delegates while Galvin was backed by about 1,500 delegates.”

Sullivan’s professional experience included serving as the Chief Equity Office for Boston Public Schools, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, a corporate counsel for Sanofi Genzyme, and a fellow for CEO Action for Racial Equity. Before the primary, she said she would do more to promote voting among minority communities, saying at the state party convention, “Despite record voter turnout in 2020, hear me on this, voters from some of our most vulnerable communities still saw the lowest voter turnout across Massachusetts, leaving behind far too many voices…Simply put, Massachusetts needs a secretary of state who fights on the ground with us every day, fighting for the democracy we deserve.”

Prior to the 2022 elections, the last Republican that served as secretary of state in Massachusetts was Frederick Cook, who left office in 1949.

The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii and Utah. Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. In the other 12, the secretary is appointed by either the governor or the state legislature. Although the duties and powers of the secretary of state vary from state to state, a common responsibility is management and oversight of elections and voter rolls, which are assigned to the secretary of state in 41 states. Other common responsibilities include registration of businesses, maintenance of state records, and certification of official documents.

There are 27 secretary of state seats on the ballot in 2022. There are 13 Republican-held secretary of state offices, 13 Democratic-held secretary of state offices, and one independent office on the ballot in 2022.

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A look at contested state legislative primaries in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has 44 contested state legislative primaries this year, 11% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 19% increase from 2020.

A primary is contested when more candidates file to run than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Of the 44 contested primaries, there are 40 for Democrats and four for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from 33 in 2020, a 21% increase. For Republicans, the number remained the same compared to 2020.

Twenty-one primaries feature an incumbent, representing 12% of all incumbents running for re-election. This is down from 2020 when 23 incumbents faced contested primaries.

Of the 21 incumbents in contested primaries, 20 are Democrats and one is a Republican.

Overall, 314 major party candidates—236 Democrats and 78 Republicans—filed to run. All 160 House and 40 Senate districts are holding elections.

Twelve of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 12% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

Massachusetts has had a divided government since 2014 with the election of Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Democrats have controlled the House since 1955 and currently hold a 125-27-1 majority with seven vacancies in the chamber. The party has controlled the Senate since 1959 with a current majority of 37-3.

Massachusett’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Sept. 6, the 16th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

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Massachusetts sees 19 U.S. House candidates this year, fewer than in 2020 and 2018

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Massachusetts this year was June 7, 2022. Nineteen candidates are running for Massachusetts’s nine U.S. House districts, including nine Democrats and ten Republicans. That’s 2.1 candidates per district, less than the three candidates per district in 2020 and the 3.44 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Massachusetts was apportioned nine districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • The 19 candidates running this year are eight fewer than the 27 candidates who ran in 2020 and 12 fewer than the 31 who ran in 2018. Fourteen candidates ran in 2016, 20 in 2014, and 28 in 2012.
  • All incumbents are running for re-election, meaning there are no open seats this year. There was one open seat in 2020 and 2018, no open seats in 2016 and 2014, and one open seat in 2012.
  • The 8th and 9th districts drew the most candidates this year, with one Democrat and two Republicans running in each. 
  • There are two contested primaries this year, both Republican. That’s three fewer than in 2020, when there were five contested primaries, and six fewer than in 2018, when there were eight contested primaries. There was one contested primary in 2016, three in 2014, and nine in 2012.
  • No incumbents are facing primary challengers this year. That number is down from 2020, when three incumbents faced primary challengers, and 2018, when five incumbents did. No incumbents faced primary challengers in 2016, two did in 2014, and three did in 2012.
  • The 4th district is guaranteed to Democrats because no Republicans filed. No districts are guaranteed to Republicans because no Democrats filed.

Massachusetts is holding primary elections on September 6, 2022. In Massachusetts, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes, even if the candidate does not receive an outright majority of votes cast.



Campaign to repeal a Massachusetts law related to driver’s license applications submits signatures ahead of the August 24 deadline

Fair and Secure Massachusetts submitted signatures on August 18 for a veto referendum to repeal House Bill 4805 (H4805), a bill to prohibit registrars from inquiring about an applicant’s citizenship or immigration status when applying for driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registrations.

On June 9, 2022, the Massachusetts General Court overrode Gov. Charles Baker’s (R) veto. Instead of citizenship or immigration information, the bill allows registrars to accept two documents that prove the date of birth and identity of the applicant, including foreign passports, birth certificates, or consular identification documents. Massachusetts requires a two-thirds majority in the General Court to override a veto. At the time of the override vote, Democrats held such a majority.

In the Senate, the override passed by a 32-8 margin, with 32 Democrats voting to override and five Democrats joining all three Republicans to sustain Baker’s veto. The House voted 119-36 to override the veto, with all 111 Democrats voting to override and eight Democrats joining all 28 Republicans to sustain the veto.

On June 13, 2022, Maureen Maloney and Kevin Dube filed paperwork with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to create the Fair And Secure Massachusetts committee. The veto referendum was cleared for signature gathering on June 27. Among the sponsors of the referendum were former state Sen. Dean Tran (R), Rep. Marc Lombardo (R), state Senate candidate Cecilia Calabrese (R), and Rep. Colleen Garry (D).

Maureen Maloney, one of the sponsors, said, “I do not think that we should be rewarding people for being in the country illegally. I think the RMV [Registry of Motor Vehicles] is not equipped to properly vet people coming to the United States from over 100 different countries.”

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D), who supports H4805, said, “We know in other states that have passed this bill, passed a form of driver’s licenses for immigrants, that hit-and-run accidents go down by 10 percent.”

Fair and Secure Massachusetts submitted around 40,120 signatures on Aug. 18 and was planning to continue gathering additional signatures before the final deadline. In Massachusetts, the number of signatures required to qualify a veto referendum for the ballot is equal to 1.5% of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equals 40,120 valid signatures. The signature deadline is August 24.

Voters in Massachusetts last decided on a veto referendum in 2018. Question 3 concerned a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. It was upheld by 67.82% of voters.

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Massachusetts voters will decide on two ballot initiatives this fall related to retail alcohol licensing and dental insurance

The Massachusetts Secretary of State completed the signature verification process for the second round of signatures submitted by campaigns for two ballot initiatives. 

The Committee on Dental Insurance Quality is leading the campaign in support of a ballot initiative to establish a medical loss ratio for dental plans at 83% and require the insurer to refund the excess premium to its covered individuals and covered groups. A medical loss ratio is the portion of premium revenue a healthcare insurance company spends on claims, medical care, and healthcare quality for its customers. Currently, Massachusetts has established an 88% medical loss ratio for medical insurance plans, but there is no medical loss ratio for dental insurance plans.

The initiative would also require dental insurance carriers to submit to the insurance commissioner current and projected medical loss ratio for plans and specified financial information. Carriers would be required to file group product base rates, and any changes to group rating factors that will take effect in the next calendar year in July of the preceding year. The commissioner would be authorized to approve or disapprove of any product rates.

The initiative has received endorsements from the Association of Independent Dentists, Massachusetts Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association Political Action Committee, and Massachusetts Dental Society.

Daisy Kumar, a registered nurse and founding member of the ballot question committee, said, “We do not expect dental insurance companies to waste our premiums by overpaying officers, having giant, wasteful commissions, sneaking payments to affiliates or gifts to parent companies that just add another layer of waste. Our insurance payments are not meant to be gifts to dental insurance companies. They are meant to help families like mine and yours.” 

The Committee to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative. The committee said, “The proponents of this ballot question are not being straight with the voters. What they aren’t telling you is that their anti-consumer proposal will increase costs for Massachusetts families and employers — a nearly 40% premium increase in one recent study — and can result in thousands of residents being denied access to much-needed dental care.”

A second ballot initiative sponsored by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association has also qualified for the November ballot. The initiative would incrementally increase the number of retail beer and wine licenses an establishment could own from no more than 12 in 2023 to no more than 18 by 2031; decrease the maximum number of full liquor licenses an establishment could own from nine to seven; and prohibit in-store automated and self-checkout sales of alcohol. It would also change the formula used to calculate fines for selling alcohol to minors by using gross profits on all retail sales instead of the gross profits on just the sale of alcohol, and it would add out-of-state driver’s licenses to the list of approved identification under the State Liquor Control Act.

On June 13, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on a lawsuit filed by Cumberland Farms that challenged the initiative’s constitutionality, arguing that it contained unrelated subjects. The court held that the initiative “presents voters with an integrated scheme” that “does not require a voter to cast a single vote on dissimilar subjects.”

A similar ballot initiative was filed for the 2012 ballot, but the effort was paused after the state legislature reached compromise with sponsors. 

In Massachusetts, the power of initiative is indirect, which means the Massachusetts General Court must consider any successful initiative proposals after submitting the first round of signatures. If the legislature does not enact the initiative, sponsors must collect a second round of signatures. For 2022 initiatives, the total number of signatures for both rounds of petition circulation was 93,613 signatures, which equals 3.5% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election.

Massachusetts voters will also be deciding on a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would create an additional tax of 4% for income over $1 million, in addition to the existing 5% flat-rate income tax, and dedicate revenue to education and transportation purposes.

Between 1996 and 2020, about 54% (22 of 41) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots were approved, and about 46% (19 of 41) were defeated.