Suppressive Massachusetts Photo ID Initiative Fails To Gather Enough Signatures

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A suppressive voter ID initiative in Massachusetts was stopped in its tracks Wednesday after it fell more than 30,000 signatures short of the threshold needed to advance.

The proposal, which was put forth by conservative activists, would have required voters to show photo ID before voting in person on Election Day. The list of photo IDs accepted would have been limited — only IDs issued by the U.S. government, the state of Massachusetts or a recognized tribal authority would have been acceptable.  

If a voter lacked acceptable ID, they would have had to sign an affidavit attesting to their identity, residence and citizenship. Individuals wishing to vote by mail would have been required to include a copy of their photo ID with their mail-in ballot or sign the same affidavit.

Photo ID can be extremely difficult for many individuals to obtain and acts as a disproportionate burden on minority communities, low-income individuals and young voters. Prior to the 2006 election, no state in the country had ever required government-issued photo ID to vote, and studies have shown that the requirement also depresses turnout.

Organizers of the failed campaign had hoped to place the measure on the ballot for the 2024 elections. They needed to submit 74,574 signatures to Secretary of State William Galvin (D) by Wednesday’s filing deadline, but only submitted roughly 40,000 signatures.

Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed challenging a similar proposal in Nevada that would impose photo ID requirements for in-person voting and require voters who vote by mail to include an identifying number with their mail-in ballot. The initiative is deceptive, misleading and fails to explain relevant context, and therefore violates state law, according to the complaint.

Read the failed Massachusetts initiative here.