As Olympic Games are weighed, let’s be clear on ballot question process

John Fish, chairman of Boston 2024.
John Fish, chairman of Boston 2024. AP/file 2015

As I talk with citizens about the 2024 Olympics bid, one thing has been clear: Very few understand how the process for a statewide vote on the Olympics would work.

First, it’s not really a “question” that goes to voters. Instead, it’s the text of a law, with the question being: Do you want this law enacted?

Second, there are several steps to get on the ballot. By the end of August 2015, the attorney general must certify that any proposal follows the requirements of the state constitution. Then, in September, the secretary of state prints signature forms, which must be signed by 64,750 voters by December. The proposal then goes to the Legislature, which could enact it by May 2016. If it does not, then, with 10,792 more signatures, the proposal gets on the ballot in November 2016.


The process has several steps, but it’s not terribly complicated. Given the importance of the issue of the Olympics to the future of the people and economy of our state, it is critical that voters understand how it works. Eliminating confusion will help make us all better-informed citizens.

Evan Falchuk

The writer, chairman of the United Independent Party, is preparing a ballot question barring the use of taxpayer funds on the Olympics.