BOSTON — A transportation secretary from the Dukakis administration, the Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association, and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian are among the public figures who will work to convince voters to keep a new driver’s license law in place.

Three days after the state’s top elections official confirmed a repeal question will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, a coalition supporting the law that would allow immigrants without legal status to acquire driver’s licenses launched the Yes on 4 campaign with the backing of dozens of law enforcement officials, organized labor and community groups, immigrant rights organizations and local businesses.

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque, who is vice president of the Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association, said voting yes to keep the law is “just common sense.” 

“All of us will be safer if all drivers on the road passed a driving test, have insurance and have a license,” Vasque said.

The Yes On 4 campaign said all 41 other MMCC members support the measure, which Democrats enacted in June over Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto. Also supporting the new law are more than 270 groups such as the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Alliance for Business Leadership and Cambridge Health Alliance.

Fred Salvucci, who served as transportation secretary for a total of 12 years under Democrat Gov. Michael Dukakis, said “no single law does more” to improve both road safety and mobility than the new law supporters dubbed the Work and Family Mobility Act. “It would ensure that more drivers pass the road test and become insured, while also allowing families to perform essential tasks legally, like driving their children to the doctors,” Salvucci said.

Opponents, backed by the state Republican Party, quickly launched an effort to repeal the law before it takes effect in July 2023, arguing that it could lead to residents without legal immigration status registering to vote.

Secretary of State William Galvin’s office announced Friday the campaign behind the repeal submitted 71,883 allowable voter signatures backing a referendum, far more than the 40,120 signatures required to put a question on the Nov. 8 ballot. The measure will appear as Question 4. “A ‘Yes’ vote is a vote to keep the law in place. A ‘No’ vote is a vote to repeal the law,” Galvin’s office wrote on Twitter.

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