There were 36 state ballot measures certified in eight states to appear on 2019 ballots. As of October 25, 2019, Ballotpedia had tracked $21.6 million in contributions to the ballot measure campaigns supporting and opposing eight of those measures. This figure included both cash contributions as well as in-kind goods and services. Support campaigns raised about 69 percent of the campaign funds.
The ballot measure that spurred the most campaign contributions was Pennsylvania’s Marsy’s Law Amendment. The support campaign reported $6 million. No opposition campaign contributions were reported. The amendment would add a section addressing crime victims’ rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution Declaration of Rights. The other ballot measures topping the campaign contribution list were Colorado Proposition CC and Washington I-976, which spurred $5.4 million and $4.8 million in campaign contributions, respectively. Colorado Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue it is currently required to refund under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to be used for education and transportation purposes. Washington I-976 would limit annual license fees for vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds at $30 and establish other restrictions on vehicle taxes and fees.
Ballotpedia organized the campaign finance data for the year under three categories: by state, by measure type, and by topic. Out of the eight states that had statewide ballot measures, only five reported active campaigns. The states that did not have any registered committees reporting contributions were: Kansas, New Jersey, and Maine. The three states that featured the most in ballot measure campaigns contributions were Washington with $7.3 million, Colorado with $7.2 million, and Pennsylvania with $6 million.
Out of the 36 ballot measures, two were citizen-initiated measures and 34 were legislative or automatic referrals, which included Washington’s 12 nonbinding advisory questions. Total contributions for citizen-initiated measures totaled over $7.3 million. Total contributions for legislative referrals were approximately $14.2 million. The total amount of contributions received by campaigns surrounding legislative referrals was greater than the total contributions received by campaigns surrounding citizen-initiated measures, but on average citizen-initiated measures spurred more contributions per measure than legislative referrals.
Ballot measures in 2019 concerned three main topics: taxes, law enforcement, and affirmative action. Campaigns surrounding ballot measures that concerned taxes and fees received combined contributions of $13.9 million. The support campaign for Pennsylvania’s Marsy’s Law measure, received a total of $6 million. Campaigns for and against Washington’s affirmative action-related veto referendum received $2.5 million.