A new campaign ad supporting giving licenses for immigrants here illegally never mentions the real question in the referendum — instead framing it deceptively as “Route to safer roads.”
Who’s not for safer roads, right?
Well, the Question 4 referendum actually never mentions road safety – except in the “arguments” section that supporters wrote.
It backs the new law allowing residents without legal immigration status to get a driver’s license, while a no vote would repeal the law.
“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.”
It’s simple but a little confusing because a no vote actually supports the effort to repeal the law.
But proponents of the new law are afraid to debate the referendum at face value, because they know they might lose.
The $500,000 TV ad buy aims to convince voters that the referendum is about road safety, and nothing else.
“In Massachusetts there’s a route to creating safer roads, no map needed,” the ad states. “Voting yes on Question 4 protects everyone on the road by making sure all drivers can be tested, licensed and insured. Similar laws in other states show yes on Question 4 paves the way to fewer uninsured drivers, and safer roads. Law enforcement officials in the state agree, yes on Question 4 protects our families. Put yourself in the driver’s seat for road safety. Vote yes on Question 4.”
That’s it. Not even one mention of who would really benefit from the referendum. Protecting “our families” is a big stretch — deceptive at best.
Question 4 made the ballot only after opponents of the license law submitted enough signatures to meet the threshold to put it before voters.
It came months after the Democratic-controlled Legislature easily passed the law expanding licenses to illegal immigrants and overrode a veto by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
Baker said he rejected it because it “increases the risk that non-citizens will be registered to vote.” But the governor has no really got involved in the Question 4 debate.
Opponents of the referendum don’t have enough money to put TV ads on the air explaining the real intent of the law.
If they could, they’d have a much better chance of winning.
So give a slight edge to the referendum passing — with a big assist from those not-so-transparent ads.