A Guide to Massachusetts Ballot Questions

BOSTON (WHDH) — As a typically blue state, Massachusetts has not historically held much influence over the presidential election. But local voters still have the power to change the landscape of national politics through this year’s state ballot questions.

Bay State voters will decide on a number of contentious issues, from expanding charter schools to legalizing recreational marijuana. There are also a handful of congressional contests, with Democratic incumbent Reps. Richard Neal, Niki Tsongas, Joe Kennedy, Stephen Lynch and William Keating facing challengers.

Question 1: Should the state allow the Gaming Commission to issue another slots parlor license?


Yes: A ‘Yes’ vote would allow the Gambling Commission to issue an additional slots parlor license. Developers hope to use that to add slots in Revere, close to the Suffolk Downs race track. Ultimately, though, Revere residents get the final say in whether or not the slots parlor can be built.

No: There would be no additional slots parlor licenses issued and no new casinos will be constructed.

Question 2: Should Massachusetts authorize the approval of up to 12 new charter schools, or expand enrollment at existing charter schools by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education each year?


Yes: If the measure passes, the state will expand the number of charter schools that are created each year, or expand the number of students who attend existing charter schools. Charter schools operate independently from the state, unlike public schools, but also operate using public funds.

No: The current cap on the creation and enrollment for charter schools will not change.

Question 3: Should Massachusetts prohibit certain methods of farm animal containment?


Yes: If the measure passes, it would be illegal to sell eggs, veal or pork of a farm animal that are confined to living in areas where the animal cannot lie down, stand up, extend its limbs or turn around.

No: A “no” vote opposes the proposal and there will be no change to how farmers contain their animals.

Question 4: Should marijuana be legalized for recreational purposes for individuals 21 and older?


Yes: A ‘yes’ vote would legalize marijuana-use in the state for recreational purposes starting December 15. Massachusetts residents would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana on them outside of their home, and possess up to 10 ounces inside their home. Four other states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – have legalized recreational marijuana.

No: A ‘no’ vote would not change the current law, which classifies the law as decriminalized and permits only prescribed medical-marijuana use.

Stay with 7News all day Tuesday for updates on votes in national and local elections.

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