We are about a month away from our 2020 election. And many voters will be voting by mail-in ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first question on the Massachusetts ballot is about the “Right to Repair” law. You may have seen some ads on the internet about “vote no” or “vote yes” on question one. This question directly affects the family-owned businesses and mechanics around our state.

What Does Vote Yes On The Right To Repair Law Mean?

If you have a newer vehicle it likely has a telemetrics system. What this just means, is there is a lot of important data kept electronically in your vehicle. Telemetrics is quite literally the automatic recording and transmission of data. That data is invaluable to your mechanic whether you go to a mom & pop or you go to the dealer’s shop. A yes on question one supports a law that requires new vehicles to use an open system beginning with 2022 models. That means local mechanics will still be able to access important data and work on your vehicle. An open system means that independent mechanics can access and retrieve mechanical data. Vote Yes has heavily supported my Massachusetts independently mechanics as well as the coalition for Automotive Repair Equality. According to Ballotpedia, the Vote Yes group raised about $15.7 million dollars.

What Does Vote No On The Right To Repair Law Mean?

Alternatively, a no vote would allow car manufacturers to privatize data and install new systems in 2022 model vehicles that are not open systems that can be easily accessed by independent mechanics. The main argument for this side involves “data security”. The argument is that if data is on an open system, it could potentially be stolen by bad actors such as hackers. The main supporters of “vote no” is the coalition of safe & secure data and many of the nation’s leading auto manufacturers including Ford Motor Company & American Honda Motor. This group raised $25.8 million according to Ballotpedia.

The History of Right to Repair in Massachusetts

This is not the first time a Right to Repair law was on our state’s ballot. In the 2012 election, a Right to Repair law on telemetric systems was one of our questions. 87.7% of our voters voted for the Right to Repair law in the 2012 election, which much like this election was in favor of requiring auto dealers to share telemetric information with mechanics. This year’s ballot is about new systems that could lock independent mechanics out when they are working on vehicles.

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