Thirty-six statewide ballot measures were on ballots in eight states in 2019. Four were decided at pre-November elections, and 32 were on ballots for November elections.
Of the 36, 22 measures were approved by voters, and 14 were defeated. As of December 2019, the outcome of one of those measures—the Pennsylvania Marsy’s Law Amendment—was pending a final court ruling.
The average number of statewide measures on the ballot in odd-numbered years from 2009 through 2017 was between 30 and 31.
Other highlights of this annual report are below:
- Two citizen-initiated were measures on the ballot, one initiative and one veto referendum, both in Washington. The initiative was approved and the veto referendum was rejected, which was the result sought by the measure’s sponsors in each case.
- State legislatures referred 22 measures to the ballot. Voters approved 18 and rejected four.
- There were more statewide measures in 2019 than any odd year since 2007, largely due to the record number of advisory questions in Washington. The 24 binding statewide measures was about average since 2013 and well below the average over the last few decades.
- Citizen-initiated measure activity was below the odd-year average since 2013 both in terms of the numbers of measures filed and success rates.
- The costs per required signature (CPRS) for the two citizen-initiated measured in Washington was $2.15 and $3.22 (sponsors spent $560,000 and $837,178, respectively). The average CPRS for citizen-initiated measures in odd-numbered years since 2013 is $6.48. The average CPRS for all citizen-initiated measures in Washington since 2013 is $2.98.
- Support and opposition campaigns raised $28.04 million. Ninety-four percent of the contributions were for measures in three states—Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
- The campaign for Colorado Proposition CC had the highest cost per vote. The campaign lost after spending $6.41 for every vote in favor of the measure.
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