Massachusetts Ballot Petition Aims to Stop Driver's Licenses for Illegal Aliens
FAIR Take | June 2022
Massachusetts voters could cast their ballots in November to block the state’s new law granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. If enough signatures are gathered and voters agree with the referendum petition, the state law to give illegal aliens driver’s licenses would be repealed before it takes effect on July 1, 2023.
Governor Charlie Baker (R) vetoed the so-called “Work and Family Mobility Act,” House Bill (H.) 4805, on May 27. The House of Representatives then voted 119-36 to override his veto on June 8, followed the next day by the Senate by a vote of 32-8. Both chambers’ votes were significantly more than the two-thirds supermajorities required to override a veto.
On June 13, Angel Mom Maureen Maloney and Kevin Dube filed a Statement of Organization with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance to create the Fair and Secure Massachusetts committee. Its official statement of intent is to “repeal drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens.”
Maloney’s son Matthew was killed by an illegal alien drunk driver in 2011. She says, “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 and being able to reliably decipher their documentation that, first of all, in the different language and second of all, for validity.”
The petition also has strong support from former state representative and current gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl (R). Diehl said the new law would “seriously undermine the safety and security of Massachusetts residents and threaten the integrity of our elections.”
Gov. Baker has not yet taken a position on the petition but may ultimately support it as well, saying “I’ve made it pretty clear what my rationale was for vetoing the bill … If people gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot, then the public will have a say in it, but I’m not familiar with the process.”
Campaign strategist Wendy Wakeman, who is working to support the ballot question, described the new law granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens as “clearly a complete overstep on the part of people who don’t understand what the voters, what people in Massachusetts want out of their government.”
Senate President Karen Spilka (D) admitted the ballot question has a real chance of passage, calling it “a concern.”
The petition must first be filed with Secretary of the Commonwealth Francis Galvin (D). Next, Attorney General Maura Healey (D) will issue a ballot summary. Once the summary is done, the petition can be circulated for signatures. Only registered Massachusetts voters are allowed to sign the petition.
In order for the referendum to be placed on the ballot, the Massachusetts Constitution requires that petitioners gather signatures of Massachusetts registered voters equaling 1.5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. This means that in order for the petition to get onto the November 2022 ballot, petition supporters will need to submit at least 40,119 verified signatures. These signatures must be submitted to local registrars of elections in individual cities and towns for verification and certification by August 24. After they have been verified and certified the signatures must be sent to Secretary Galvin by September 7.
If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, a simple majority (50 percent+1) of those voting in November could block the new law and ensure illegal aliens are not eligible for driver’s licenses.
A recent poll by Suffolk University for the Boston Globe indicated that Massachusetts voters are split almost evenly on the issue of granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Providing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens is supported by 46.1 percent of those polled and opposed by 46.6 percent. Seven percent are undecided.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The most recent to authorize them was Virginia in 2020.