State Ballot Question Petitions

Suggestions for Filers of Initiative Petitions

  1. Although the courts have not yet ruled on whether an initiative petition must have a title, it is recommended to include a title.  The title should indicate whether the petition is an initiative petition for a law or for a constitutional amendment and should make some mention of the subject matter of the proposed measure.
  2. It is preferable to have each signer of the petition put his or her initials on each page of  the petition to avoid any later question about whether the person signing actually saw the final version of the petition.
  3. It is highly recommended to get more than ten original signers with voter registration certificates, signed by a majority of the registrars of voters, to be submitted to the Attorney General at the time the petition is filed.  The courts have not yet ruled on whether such certificates must be filed with the Attorney General.  However, it is recommended to file the certificates with the Attorney General with the original petition itself.
  4. The Attorney General's office welcomes the chance to review draft petitions on an informal, non-binding basis and will make suggestions for changes to avoid certification problems if the draft petitions are submitted prior to the first Wednesday in August.  The earlier the draft is submitted, the better.  Do not wait until the petition has been signed.  For more information please contact:

    Peter Sacks, Assistant Attorney General
    Office of the Attorney General
    One Ashburton Place, Room 2007
    Boston, Massachusetts 02108
    617.727.2200 Ext. 2064
    FAX: 617.727.5785

  5. You need not wait until the first Wednesday in August to file the final version of your petition with the Attorney General.  Petitions will be accepted any time, and early filings are encouraged.
  6. The Office of the Attorney General requests that petitioners submit an electronic copy (either via e-mail or disc) when filing the original petition. For more information regarding electronic submission of the text of the petition, please contact Peter Sacks at the telephone number above.