A total of 36 statewide ballot measures were on 2019 ballots in eight states. Of those, four were decided at pre-November elections, and 32 statewide measures were on ballots for the November election in seven states.
Of the total, 22 statewide 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.
The highlights of this annual report are below:
- There were two citizen-initiated 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 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.
- Ballot initiative and veto referendum activity was below the odd-year average since 2013 both in terms of the numbers of measures filed and success rates.
- Sponsors of the two citizen-initiated measures in Washington spent $560,000 and $837,178, respectively, on signature-gathering costs. This amounted to costs per required signature (CPRS) of $2.15 and $3.22, respectively. The average CPRS for citizen-initiated measures in odd-numbered years since 2013 was $6.48. The average CPRS for all citizen-initiated measures in Washington since 2013 was $2.98.
- In 2019, ballot measure support and opposition campaigns raised about $28.04 million. Most of the contributions (94.1 percent) were for measures in three states—Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
- The campaign with the highest cost per vote (CPV) in 2019 was the support campaign for Colorado Proposition CC, which lost after spending $6.41 for every vote in favor of the measure.
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