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Hotly debated Mass. casino repeal will be Question 3

Mass. casino repeal supporters gathered in front of the State House last week.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff/File

Mass. casino repeal supporters gathered in front of the State House last week.

It seems the most mundane of bureaucratic tasks: assigning numbers to state ballot questions.

But the numbers, announced Thursday, will become an inescapable feature of the political landscape this fall, emblazoned on bumper stickers and yard signs and ballyhooed on radio and television ads.

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So, without further ado, here are your numbers, as chosen by Secretary of State William F. Galvin.

Question 1 would repeal the state law that adjusts the gas tax based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Question 2 would expand the nickel bottle deposit to most nonalcoholic and noncarbonated drinks, such as sports drinks and bottled water, which are not currently covered.

Question 3 would repeal the state gambling law, which authorizes up to three casinos and one slot machine parlor.

And Question 4 would require most employers to allow their workers to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.

Galvin predicted the ballot measures will help drive voter turnout in November, because they appeal to a wide spectrum of the electorate.

Conservatives, he pointed out, have been intensely interested in repealing the gas-tax law; liberals have pushed the bottle deposit expansion; labor unions are the prime movers behind the earned sick time question; and voters of various stripes have been following the casino debate, which is expected to be the most hotly contested referendum.

In other words, get ready to hear a lot about Question 3 this fall.

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