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Committees launch ballot initiatives seeking to protect newborns, mandate voter identification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director617-523-5005 ext. 245 BOSTON — Representatives from two Massachusetts ballot committees seeking to guarantee lifesaving medical care for newborns and establish a voter identification requirement submitted paperwork with the office of the attorney general on Friday, marking the official launch of both efforts. Tatyana Semyrog (left), a former candidate for state representative from Duxbury, is the chairwoman of the Committee to Bring Voter ID to Massachusetts. Andover resident Bernadette Lyons (right) is the chairwoman of the Massachusetts Newborn Protection Coalition. “Voter identification laws are something that the overwhelming number of Americans support, yet Massachusetts is one of just 14 states where voters aren’t required to show at least some proof of who they are in order to vote,” Semyrog said. “It should be easy to vote and hard to cheat, and I think this proposal is a commonsense way to ensure election integrity.”  Lyons meanwhile said the other initiative is intended to be a proactive effort dedicated to protecting the lives of all infants born in the commonwealth. “It’s the humane thing to do,” she said. “Guaranteeing that newborns receive lifesaving medical care immediately following birth should be a fundamental right.”

Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said the two initiative campaigns should attract attention from all areas of the political spectrum. “These are important issues that voters deserve to have the opportunity to weigh in on,” Lyons said. The deadline to file proposed ballot initiative language is Wednesday. Petitioners are required to collect at least 80,239 signatures from registered voters by early December, and an additional 13,374 by next spring, in order to advance the petitions. Link to press release  Proposed language: INITIATIVE PETITION FOR A LAW TO REQUIRE VOTER IDENTIFICATION IN MASSACHUSETTS Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority: Chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following Section 163: “To affirm the integrity of the electoral process, before being given a ballot on election day at a polling place, each prospective voter must present identification to a properly designated poll worker, which identification must have been issued by a branch of the United States government or of the Commonwealth or by a tribal authority recognized by either the United States or the Commonwealth and must include a picture of the prospective voter. Should any person fail to present such identification, he or she may choose to execute an affidavit attesting to his or her identity and residence, in which case such person shall be given a ballot.” INITIATIVE PETITION FOR A LAW TO PRESERVE THE LIVES OF CHILDREN BORN ALIVE Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority: Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding section 110D:     “Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, if a child is born alive, all reasonable steps, in keeping with good medical practice, shall be taken to preserve the life of the child born alive.”