The Right to Repair Coalition and the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data received a combined $51.5 million in contributions this election cycle, making Massachusetts Question 1 the most expensive measure in the state for at least the last 15 years. Final campaign finance reports for Massachusetts 2020 ballot measure committees were filed on Jan. 20.
Question 1 amended a 2013 “right to repair law.” The amended question required manufacturers that sell vehicles with telematics systems in Massachusetts to equip them with a standardized system beginning with model year 2022. Vehicle owners and independent repair facilities may access the standardized system to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through a mobile-based application. It was approved with a margin of 74.97% to 25.03%.
The Right to Repair Coalition, the sponsor of Question 1, reported $24.9 million in contributions. The top donors to the campaign included:
- Auto Care Association ($4.6 million)
- Coalition of Automotive Repair Equality ($4.2 million)
- AutoZone ($3 million)
- O’Reilly Auto Parts ($3 million)
- Advance Auto Parts ($3 million)
- Genuine Parts Company ($3 million)
The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data registered in opposition to Question 1 and reported $26.6 million in contributions. The top donors to the campaign included:
- General Motors ($5.5 million)
- Toyota Motor North America, Inc ($4.5 million)
- Ford Motor Company ($4.5 million)
- American Honda Motor Co., Inc ($3.0 million)
- Nissan North America Inc. ($2.4 million)
The Right to Repair Coalition sponsored a 2012 initiative. The measure led to a legislative compromise in 2013. A legislative alternative to the initiative was approved on July 31, 2012, after the July 3 initiative signature deadline, so the initiative still appeared on the ballot and received 87.7% of the vote. The 2013 legislative compromise was approved on Nov. 26, 2013. The committees registered in support of the 2012 initiative reported $2.3 million in contributions, and those registered in opposition reported over $307,000.
The top five most expensive measures by total contributions (support and opposition) in Massachusetts since 2006 are as follows:
- $44.3 million for Question 2, Authorization of Additional Charter Schools and Charter School Expansion (2006)
- $37.2 million for Question 1, Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative (2018)
- $15.8 million for Question 3, Casino Repeal Initiative (2014)
- $10.7 million for Question 2, Expansion of Bottle Deposits Initiative (2014)
- $10.2 million for Question 2, Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative (2020)
In 2020, committees registered to support or oppose all of the 129 statewide measures reported a combined total of $1.2 billion in contributions and $1.02 billion in expenditures. Massachusetts ballot measure campaigns raised the third largest amount in contributions compared to other states with a total of $61.6 million. California campaigns raised the most with $739 million, and Illinois campaigns raised the second most with $121.2 million.
- Massachusetts Question 1, “Right to Repair Law” Vehicle Data Access Requirement Initiative (2020)
- Ballot measure campaign finance, 2020