03/10/2017

Election Reform

An Act protecting the interests of shareholders – S.118

This bill requires any business entity that does business in the Commonwealth and issues stock to disclose its political contributions to Massachusetts shareholders at the shareholder’s request. Violations will constitute deceptive acts or practices under Chapter 93A.

An Act relative to corporations, shareholders, and political expenditures – S.376

This bill requires shareholder approval for corporate expenditures to promote the success or defeat of a candidate, political party, or ballot question in any state or federal election. Expenditures in violation of this requirement are invalid, per se wasteful of corporate assets and a violation of the standards of conduct for corporate officers and directors.

An Act relative to election officers – S.377

This bill adds “minimum” language to election law, which allows cities and towns to utilize as many election staffers as necessary above the levels outlined by statute. It also eliminates the current “two voting lists” requirement. Cities and towns will only be required to have one list at the entrance but not a second list when voters deposit their ballots.

An Act enhancing transparency in campaign finance – S.378

This bill subjects candidates for state political party to the requirements of other candidates if they appear on the ballot and receive or spend $1000 or more. Clarifies that money for state candidates must be spent out of a political party’s state accounts with funds raised under Massachusetts law rather than under the federal account and federal law.

An Act for a United States constitutional amendment and amendments convention – S.379

This bill calls on the U.S. Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would affirm that corporations are not individuals protected by the Constitution and that would place limits on political contributions and expenditures.

An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in city or town elections – S.380

Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank candidates on ballots and removes the possibility of a runoff election. If a candidate fails to get a majority of votes, the candidate in last place is removed and the remaining choices are counted again. This bill would allow individual cities and towns to adopt ranked-choice voting in single-winner or multi-winner elections.

An Act relative to fair elections – S.381

This bill would provide candidates for legislative offices in Massachusetts with the option to forgo large private campaign donations, and instead fund their campaigns using a combination of small private donations and public matching funds.