Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


April 16, 2020

Senate Passes Bill to Lower Signature Threshold for Some Candidacies Amid COVID-19
Addresses public offices requiring more than 1,000 signatures to qualify for ballot access

BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday passed a bill to address the public health concerns surrounding the gathering of signatures for candidates for public office amid the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

“In this unprecedented time, we must consider all of our actions with an eye towards protecting the health and safety of our residents,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This legislation reflects that commitment and strikes a balance by ensuring those who decide to run for public office demonstrate the necessary support they have in their communities without endangering their health or the health of others. I’d like to thank my colleagues Senators Joan Lovely and Barry Finegold for their collaboration in helping to advance this issue.”

“I am gratified that the Senate approved my bill halving the requirements for candidates who need one thousand or more signatures to get on the ballot,” stated Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules. “This bill prudently protects both civic-minded citizens and potential officeholders and represents a reasonable step for the Senate to take in this perilous period.”

“This legislation ensures that everyone who wants to participate in the political process can do so in a way that keeps themselves and their neighbors safe. I commend my colleagues for taking this issue seriously,” state Senator Barry R. Finegold (D-Andover), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws.

An Act Relative to Nomination Signatures reduces the number of signatures for all offices which require 1,000 or more signatures.  The bill reduces the threshold for the following public offices:

  • U.S. Senate from 10,000 to 5,000
  • U.S. House of Representative from 2,000 to 1,000
  • Governor’s Council and some county offices from 1,000 to 500

The legislation now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.