Last week, Dignity 2012 turned in nearly double the number of signatures they needed to place Death with Dignity on the November ballot.
The work of hundreds of volunteers made it possible to get to this point. Presenting issues to the voters through the ballot in Massachusetts is a long and arduous path. Last fall, Dignity 2012 gathered nearly 85,000 signatures to move to the next major step, which was to have the initiative considered by the State Legislature. Lawmakers had until the beginning of May to act on the measure. They didn’t and, the initiative moved to the second signature-gathering phase.
This second round of signature gathering involves a whirlwind of activity. Dignity 2012 had 39 days to mail out thousands of petition sheets with return postage, get the petitions to the 351 Town Clerks, pick up the certified petitions, and file them with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Volunteers braved all types of weather to gather signatures from people throughout Massachusetts. No one who signed it in the first round could sign during this stage. The petitions then had to be hand sorted and mailed to individual Town Clerks’ offices. (The photo above, courtesy of Dignity 2012, is a volunteer working on this monumental process.) Once certified by the Town Clerks, the petitions were filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
This initiative is one of only four which have made it this far; 31 were submitted for consideration last fall. And a recent poll showed the people of Massachusetts are ready for more end-of-life options. It found 60% of people are in favor of the proposed Death with Dignity Act; Bay Staters support the initiative by a margin of two to one!
Not surprisingly, with all the support among Massachusetts voters, the opponents are trying anything to mislead voters. Just last month, they filed a lawsuit to skew the ballot language to be inaccurate and biased. Justice Cordy ruled against them, denying their claim. Now, religious leaders and other opponents are vowing a “vigorous fight” and are prepared to spend millions to put their outrageous lies on TV.
Clearing this recent major step ensures Bay Staters will have the opportunity to openly discuss Death with Dignity this fall, but there’s a lot of work left to be done. The Dignity 2012 campaign office is open and they’re ready for volunteers to help make this effort a success!
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