Ballot campaigns face signature collection deadline

Campaigns were required to file 64,750 voter signatures with the Secretary of State

BOSTON (WWLP)—Campaigns were required to file 64,750 voter signatures with the Secretary of State today. But they still have several more steps in the process to get on the ballot.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association said they submitted more than 100,000 signatures to the Secretary of State Wednesday. Their petition would limit the number of patients assigned to nurses—a policy they’ve wanted for 20 years.

“We have tried to talk to hospital management. We have asked hospital administrators, etc. We have tried to get it done, like through contracts,” Massachusetts Nurses Association Vice President Karen Coughlin told 22News.

If enough voter signatures are submitted, the measure is sent to the Legislature for review in January. The Legislature can either approve or reject the measure, propose a substitute, or take no action.

The “Raise Up Massachusetts” coalition is pushing to put a $15 minimum wage and paid family and medical leave on the 2018 ballot, if the legislature won’t pass them.

“In some ways, if the legislature passed them, that would be the best, it would happen earlier,” Raise Up Massachusetts Co-Chair Lew Finfer said. “But on the other hand, if we don’t get the signatures to qualify it for the ballot, the Legislature is not likely to take it up and take it seriously.”

Unless the Legislature enacts the measure by May 2018, the campaign must then gather an additional 10-thousand voter signatures by July.

Over the next couple weeks, the Secretary of State’s office will count the signatures and verify them.