In 2022, Mass-Care and Act on Mass will run non-binding public policy questions in strategic districts crucial to our success - and we need your help to make this happen.
This page includes background info and resources you'll need to participate in this campaign, including:
- 101 on non-binding ballot initiatives
- getting a single payer question on the ballot in your rep or senate district
- the timeline for the campaign
- resources and a sign-up form
WHAT is a non-binding ballot initiative?
A non-binding public policy question is a question presented to voters in a specific state senate or representative district.
To get a question on the ballot, your group must collect enough signatures (200 in a Rep district; 1200 in a Senate district) and submit them to the city/town for certification. If approved, the policy question will appear on the November 2022 ballot in that state senate or rep district.
WHY a non-binding ballot initiative?
If passed, legislators are not required to become cosponsors; however, majority support can be used effectively in campaigns. In 2018, non-binding ballot initiatives were used to successfully pressure Rep. Vega in 5th Hampden, and demonstrate support in 5 other co-sponsoring districts in Western Massachusetts.
The ballot alone will not work to move legislators; but it’s a great tool to create organization in the district. And the reason legislators have resisted cosponsoring the bill so far is because their districts have not yet been organized enough to hold them to account.
The ballot question gives us an opportunity to:
- let constituents know their Rep/Senator is NOT a cosponsor and help them take action
- bring more people into our organizations and the Medicare for All movement
- educate the district about Medicare for All, and the potential to pass M4A in the state
- demonstrate that M4A has wide support in the district
Because the ballot alone will not work to move legislators, we’ll need to run a campaign with the ultimate goal of not just getting onto the ballot and passing with majority support, but also building local power.
What is the language of the ballot initiative?
"Shall the Representative from this District be instructed to vote for legislation to create a single payer system of universal health care that provides all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom to choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities, and services, and eliminates the role of insurance companies in health care by creating an insurance trust fund that is publicly administered?”
How do I become part of this campaign?
How do I choose a district?
Generally, you want to run the ballot in your own district. However, if your Rep is a strong supporter of Medicare for All, and there's a neighboring district you'd rather help organize, that's also an option.
What are the roles I can take in this campaign?
We'll need friends to do canvassing, outreach, door-knocking, public speaking, data entry, and many other tasks. There is a role for you in this campaign!
Part I (until July)
- Collecting signatures (crowd-canvassing , door-knocking, tabling)
Part II (July - November)
- Outreach– identifying DTCs, faith, community, senior groups in the district
- Public speaking - give M4A presentations
- Reaching out to candidates, attending candidate debates & asking Qs
- More canvassing, door-knocking, tabling
- Press work, Op-eds
DISTRICT LEADER ♣
- No experience required! Just commitment!
Same Work as Team Member, plus:
- Recruits additional team members during planning, does follow-up
- Works with the team to set their goals (how many signatures/doors knocked?)
- Bottomlines the planning, canvassing, etc
- Meets with other district leaders + GO team 1X/month for check-in
Jan - March: Start recruiting signature collectors/shifts, reaching out to other orgs in the district who can take turf, creating lit
April 22: First day to collect blank ballot sheets for canvassing
April 22 - June: Collect signatures through crowd canvassing/door knocking. Submit to state
July - November - Campaign for a YES vote on the ballot
November - December: Follow up with legislators to cosponsor bill
Partnership with Act on Mass
Act on Mass, the leading advocacy group on state house transparency, is also running a ballot question and will be joining forces with Mass-Care! Every team doing either the single payer ballot question or the Act on Mass question will have the option to include the other while canvassing.
This collaboration is really important, not only because Mass-Care is fully on board with confronting the anti-democratic status quo of our State House, but also because it will be near impossible to win any transformative reforms (including Medicare for All!) without transparency reform.
What is the language of the Act on Mass ballot initiative?
The exact language is not yet finalized, but the question be instructing legislators to make committee votes public.