Breaking Down Massachusetts' Ballot Questions

Massachusetts voters will decide on four questions on Nov. 8

In addition to picking the candidate they want for U.S. president and various federal and state offices, Bay State voters will have a chance to weigh in on four ballot questions.

While a few questions are garnering a lot of attention, such as Question 4, which would legalize recreational marijuana, others are still largely unfamiliar to voters, such as Question 1, which would allow another slots parlor in Massachusetts.

Check out our explainer below and the links to the campaigns for and against these ballot questions:


Question 1 would allow the state's Gaming Commission to issue another slots parlor license, which is targeted for Suffolk Downs. The main supporters for Question 1, which was proposed by a developer, are the Horse Racing Jobs and Education Committee and the Yes to 1 campaign, while the main opponents to Question 1 are the Committee for Sustainable and Responsible Economic Development and Vote No on 1 campaign, along with Gov. Charlie Baker, the mayors of Somerville and Revere, and the chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs.


The charter school expansion question has voters taking sides in Massachusetts.

Question 2 asks voters if they would like to see at least 12 more charter schools in or increased enrollment in existing charter schools by the state's education board each year, with priority given to applicants who want to open a charter school in public school districts that have been performing poorly for two years. Supporters for the ballot question includes Great Schools Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. Opponents include Save Our Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Marty Walsh and the entire Boston City Council.


Massachusetts voters go to the polls in less than two weeks and one thing they will vote on is Question 3, which prohibits the sale of foods from animals confined to small cages. Opponents claim the proposal will end up costing consumers more money.

Question 3 will have voters determine whether to ban certain methods of farm animal containment, including methods that prevent an animal "from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely," and would apply to business owners who knowingly sell animal products from animals held in this way, even if the source is from out of state. Supporters for the ballot question include the MSPCA, ARL of Boston, the Sierra Club, Zoo New England and the Human Society of the United States. Lead by the No on Question 3 and Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice, opponents of Question 3 argue that these methods aren't typically practiced in Massachusetts, and include the National Association of Egg Farmers, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, the New England Egg Council and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.


A group of doctors rallied Friday to show their support for Question 4, which would legalize marijuana recreationally in Massachusetts.

If Question 4 passes, Massachusetts will join an increasing number of states to legalize recreational marijuana. The question would allow residents over the age of 21 to use, grow and possess certain quantities and would create a regulatory structure called the Cannabis Control Commission. Lead by the Yes on 4 campaign, supporters for the ballot question include former Gov. Bill Weld and various state senators and representatives, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing and Moms United to End the War on Drugs. Lead by the Campaign for a Safe & Healthy Massachusetts, opponents of legalized recreational marijuana include Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, various state lawmakers, Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

Sue O’Connell takes Question 4 to the streets and gets Boston’s response to the new ad in opposition to legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts.
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