Explainer: Ballot question 4 would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license

Question #4 - Eligibility for Driver’s Licenses

On September 9, 2022, the Elections Division certified that a referendum petition for a ballot question that was submitted on September 7, 2022 had been signed by enough registered voters to qualify for placement on the November 8, 2022 State Election Ballot.

Because this petition was submitted after the July 2022 deadline for inclusion in the printed Information for Voters booklet that is mailed to each household, this question is not listed in that voter guide. The question will, however, be listed on each November 8 State Election ballot as Question #4.


Do you approve of a law summarized below, which was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate on May 26, 2022?


This law allows Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit if they meet all the other qualifications for a standard license or learner’s permit, including a road test and insurance, and provide proof of their identity, date of birth, and residency. The law provides that, when processing an application for such a license or learner’s permit or motor vehicle registration, the registrar of motor vehicles may not ask about or create a record of the citizenship or immigration status of the applicant, except as otherwise required by law. This law does not allow people who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a REAL ID.

To prove identity and date of birth, the law requires an applicant to present at least two documents, one from each of the following categories: (1) a valid unexpired foreign passport or a valid unexpired Consular Identification document; and (2) a valid unexpired driver’s license from any United States state or territory, an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, a valid unexpired foreign national identification card, a valid unexpired foreign driver’s license, or a marriage certificate or divorce decree issued by any state or territory of the United States. One of the documents presented by an applicant must include a photograph and one must include a date of birth. Any documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. The registrar may review any documents issued by another country to determine whether they may be used as proof of identity or date of birth.

The law requires that applicants for a driver’s license or learner’s permit shall attest, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that their license has not been suspended or revoked in any other state, country, or jurisdiction.

The law specifies that information provided by or relating to any applicant or license-holder will not be a public record and shall not be disclosed, except as required by federal law or as authorized by Attorney General regulations, and except for purposes of motor vehicle insurance.

The law directs the registrar of motor vehicles to make regulations regarding the documents required of United States citizens and others who provide proof of lawful presence with their license application.

The law also requires the registrar and the Secretary of the Commonwealth to establish procedures and regulations to ensure that an applicant for a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit who does not provide proof of lawful presence will not be automatically registered to vote.

The law takes effect on July 1, 2023.


A YES VOTE would keep in place the law, which would allow Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license or permit if they meet the other requirements for doing so. A NO VOTE would repeal this law.

See full text of existing law


As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: A YES vote will keep in place a law that allows all drivers in Massachusetts to be properly vetted for licenses (by providing proof of identity, date of birth, and residency), pass required tests and buy insurance, regardless of immigration status.

A YES vote means safer roads and better tools for law enforcement to do their jobs. In 17 states with similar laws, passage led to declines in uninsured drivers and hit-and-run crashes. That’s why this measure is endorsed by over 60 law enforcement officials statewide—including most sheriffs, district attorneys, and all 42 police chiefs in the Massachusetts Major Cities Chief of Police Association.

Voting YES helps families and workers by ensuring they can drive legally to school and work. It makes sense for all of us.

That is what Massachusetts law provides and a YES vote will keep in place.

Franklin Soults Yes on 4 for Safer Roads P.O. Box 15 Readville, MA 02137 Saferroadsma.com

AGAINST: In his veto message of this bill, Governor Charlie Baker made it known that the Registry of Motor Vehicles does not have the capability or expertise necessary to verify documents from other countries and notes that, if this bill becomes law, Massachusetts drivers’ licenses will no longer confirm that a person is who they say they are.

Additionally, Governor Baker states the bill specifically restricts the Registry’s ability to share citizenship information with entities responsible for ensuring only citizens register to vote and vote in our elections, significantly increasing the likelihood that noncitizens will register to vote.

This bill is patently unfair to those who have taken the time to immigrate to our great country via legal means and significantly diminishes the public safety of all residents of the Commonwealth.

We urge a no vote on this issue.

John Milligan Fair and Secure Massachusetts PO Box 116 North Andover, MA 01845781-819-3201 FairandSecureMA.com

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