Massachusetts Ballot Question 4 seeks to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license while also setting up regulations to ensure they are not automatically registered to vote. Voters will weigh in on the question during the general elections on Nov. 8.
The state recently passed a law allowing undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license despite a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, but shortly afterwards, a committee called Fair and Secure Massachusetts mobilized to get a referendum on the ballot and put the question to voters.
The new law, if not rejected by voters, will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a standard state driver’s license beginning July 1, 2023. It prohibits the Registry of Motor Vehicles from asking about or keeping documents related to immigration status.
What would Question 4 do?
Question 4 would allow undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit if they meet all necessary requirements such as a road test, proof of identity and residency.
To apply for a driver’s license, immigrants will have to show two documents proving their date of birth and identity, like an unexpired foreign passport, consular identification document or certified copy of a birth certificate.
They will not be able to get a REAL ID. The law would require the registrar and Secretary of State to establish regulations ensuring undocumented immigrants who get a driver’s license will not be automatically registered to vote. Sec. of State Bill Galvin has said this type of regulation would be feasible to implement.
A “YES” would uphold the current law to allow immigrants to obtain licenses, while a “no” vote would reject the new law.
What are the arguments for and against Question 4?
Jay McMahon, of Fair and Secure Massachusetts, and Sen. Brendan Crighton, of Safer Roads Massachusetts, debated the measure on Greater Boston.
Crighton said residents should vote “yes” in the interest of safety. He said 17 other states have implemented similar laws and hit-and-run accidents have decreased significantly. He noted that law enforcement officials have endorsed the ballot question for this reason.
After implementing a similar law, Connecticut saw a reduction of hit-and run crashes, and a decline in the number of people found guilty of unlicensed driving, an investigation by the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting found.
“This makes our roads safer by requiring that everybody follow the same set of rules,” Crighton said. “This isn’t an immigration issue. This has nothing to do with immigration. It’s about making our roads safer, making sure that everybody has to pass a road test and vision test and get insurance and to get a license in the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Debate: Question 4 would let undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license in Massachusetts