Massachusetts Voters May Get Last Word on Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
The Massachusetts Legislature has had the last word in a showdown with Governor Charlie Baker over granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, but the voters haven't been heard from – at least not yet – and they could have the final say.
It isn't over yet.
The Massachusetts House voted 119-36 to override Baker's veto of a licensing bill. The Senate followed suit on a 32-8 vote. However, Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl and his running mate, Lt. Governor candidate Republican Leah Cole Allen, have indicated they would back a move to put the matter before the voters in a referendum question.
Neither Diehl nor Cole have clarified if they would launch such an effort or support one if someone else were to do so.
The State House News Service reported it is possible a referendum on the license issue could make it to the November ballot this year: "State law allows petitioners to bring forth a referendum to strike a newly enacted law if they collect, in this case, 40,120 signatures from Massachusetts voters, of which no more than 10,030 could come from one county within 90 days after its passage."
The deadline to submit signatures to local election officials for certification would be August 24 and September 7 to the Secretary of State's office. Otherwise, it would be 2024 at the earliest that the question could go to the voters.
Polling on the issue has indicated a fairly even split, with many expressing concerns that issuing a driver's license could lead to some immigrants illegally registering to vote.