Boston 2024 says it wants to collect signatures to put a referendum on the ballot, asking Massachusetts residents if they want to host the Olympics. But Secretary of State Bill Galvin's office is raising a red flag.

A spokesperson for Galvin says the state constitution allows outside groups or individuals to only sponsor ballot questions that enact or repeal laws. So, a referendum that simply gauges public support for the Olympics wouldn't appear to meet that standard.

Galvin's office says the legislature can initiate a ballot question like that, which might actually be good news for Boston 2024.

It would spare Olympic boosters the time-consuming -- and often expensive -- process of collecting the tens of thousands of signatures necessary to get a referendum on the ballot.

But a group of Olympic opponents fear the language of the ballot question could be too broad. 

Chris Dempsey of No Boston Olympics says the challenge going forward is the phrasing of the ballot question. He says it could be a complex one to craft:

“We’d like to say this: It’s one question to say ‘do you want some cotton candy?’  And a very different question to say ‘do you want to buy some cotton candy’, and even different to say “do you want to buy some cotton candy, and by the way, dentists say you’re not supposed to eat cotton candy.”

Both Dempsey -- and the head of Boston 2024 -- say they will sit down and try to come up with language that works for both sides. 

Wading into to this sticky thicket comes former gubernatorial candidate Evan Fulchuk, who says that  the efforts of pro-Olympic forces won’t stop him from pushing ahead with his own ballot question.

“We think it’s important that there’s a question that protects taxpayers and says no taxpayer money can be used and that there be no guarantees from taxpayers for the Olympics,” said Falchuk.

Falchuk adds the move by Olympic boosters looks like an effort to stave off what he’s doing. Boston 2024 president Rich Davey denies that and suggests it's Falchuk who has an ulterior motive. 

“Obviously he was a statewide candidate for office a few years ago. Are we on the record?"