Death with Dignity Qualifies for Massachusetts November Ballot


“The initiative petition will be printed on the November 6, 2012, state election ballot.”

-from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth to Dignity 2012

After a long, winding road, the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative completed the final step of the process to appear on the November ballot! After collecting nearly double the number of signatures necessary for the second and final signature-gathering phase, the Secretary of the Commonwealth certified that the citizen petition will be put before voters this fall during the presidential election.

This final round of signature gathering proved to be another demonstration of strong support for the measure from all over Massachusetts; signatures were certified from all 14 counties in order to qualify the Death with Dignity initiative for the November ballot. Michael from Dignity 2012 shared the great news with supporters in an email earlier today. He summarized the path to the ballot in his message:

Our long journey to the ballot started nearly one year ago.

Last August, a group of citizens joined to propose the law. The team included two former Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, two Professors of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and leaders in the legal, civil rights, disabilities, and faith based communities. The proposed law was approved by the Attorney General.

During the fall, hundreds of volunteers helped to submit 86,000 certified petition signatures to complete the first step towards the ballot, which introduced the petition as a bill before the Legislature.

Starting in April, we collected 21,000 additional petition signatures to finally put the Death with Dignity Act on the statewide November ballot.

Throughout the course of the qualification process, the initiative has caught the attention of many media outlets. Michael mentioned one such insightful article in today’s email:

Growing attention led several newspapers to look into the law and write about the many safeguards of the proposed law. Among them was Boston Magazine, which reported that the Death with Dignity Act is “a measured proposal loaded with safeguards, and it reflects the wisdom and experience of a diverse group of experts.”

After what’s felt like a long, circuitous journey to get to this point, this final step to qualify for the ballot sparks beginning of what now becomes a dash to the election. Support throughout the state is strong—a recent poll showed Bay Staters support Death with Dignity by a margin of two to one; as part of our partnership with Dignity 2012 we’ll keep working to make sure the people of Massachusetts continue to get the facts about this important end-of-life option. Please support our efforts with a tax-deductible donation today.

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