15 ballot measures we’re watching

Welcome to the Thursday, Oct. 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 15 ballot measures we’re watching
  2. Comparing stances: Presidential candidates on prescription drug costs
  3. Explore Rhode Island  elections
  4. Explore New Hampshire elections

15 ballot measures we’re watching

On Tuesday, I wrote about 15 of the federal and state-level races we’ll be watching next week. Today I’m back with a list of the 15 ballot measures we’re tracking.

There are 120 statewide measures on the Nov. 3 ballot across 32 states. While that number is 25% fewer than the average since 2010, this year’s crop of ballot measures stands out as one of the most complex and compelling we’ve seen. Here’s what our ballot measures project director Josh Altic shared with me about what to watch for:

  • • Despite there being fewer statewide measures, ballot measure campaign contributions have already broken $1 billion and will exceed the totals in 2016 and 2018.
  • • Perennial trends and repeat topics such as marijuana, tax policy, elections policy, minimum wage, and rent control appear in abundance.
  • • A number of unique measures, first-ever forays into new policy areas, and measures with the potential to start or discourage new trends add a whole new layer to understand this year.

Below is a sampling of the measures we’ll be watching closely on election night and during election week. Click here for the full list.

  • The most expensive measure this year—Proposition 22—is also the most expensive in California’s history and is the first time voters will decide a statewide measure on gig economy policies.
  • Colorado will be the first state to vote on a paid sick leave program.
  • Alaska and Massachusetts could become the second and third states to enact ranked-choice voting for state-level elections. Alaska could also be the first state to enact a top-four primary system for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices in the U.S.

Learn more

Comparing stances: Presidential candidates on prescription drug costs

In this week’s feature comparing the four noteworthy presidential candidates’ stances on key issues, we’re looking at what the candidates say about prescription drug costs. As a reminder, to be considered noteworthy in the general election, candidates must appear on enough ballots to win a majority of the Electoral College.

Our summary of the candidates’ stances on prescription drug costs will be the last in this series that has spanned the past 12 weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! These summaries have come from the 40 articles our presidential election team has written featuring presidential candidate stances. In the past few weeks, we’ve briefed our Brew readers on the candidates’ stances on gun ownership and regulations, climate change, criminal justice, abortion, and China.

Joe Biden (D)

Joe Biden’s campaign website states Biden “will put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of the drug industry by: Repealing the outrageous exception allowing drug corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices. Limiting launch prices for drugs that face no competition and are being abusively priced by manufacturers. Limiting price increases for all brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation. Allowing consumers to buy prescription drugs from other countries. Terminating pharmaceutical corporations’ tax break for advertisement spending. Improving the supply of quality generics.”

Howie Hawkins (G)

Howie Hawkins’ campaign website states, “Predatory Big Pharma would be socialized into [his healthcare] system as a public utility operating at cost for public benefit. We would direct it to do the needed research and development of vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics that Big Pharma has stopped doing because drugs for chronic conditions are more profitable than short-term medical treatments that prevent and cure diseases. Under community control, the public healthcare system will be more accountable, more effective at controlling costs, and more rational and just in allocating healthcare resources across all communities.”

Jo Jorgensen (L)

Jo Jorgensen’s answers to a series of questions regarding prescription drug costs are summarized below. Click here to view the full questionnaire.

Jorgensen’s campaign website states the government should not regulate the price of drugs. It also says that “the FDA should be abolished so the price of all drugs goes down.”

Donald Trump (R) 

Donald Trump’s campaign website states that “Under President Trump, The FDA has approved the largest number of generic drugs in history. Generics increase competition in the marketplace and lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans. In December 2018, year-end drug prices fell for the first time in nearly 50 years.”

Learn more

Explore Rhode Island elections

We’re just two states away from wrapping up our 50 States in 25 Days series. On our penultimate day, we are heading to New England for a look at Rhode Island and New Hampshire. If you missed a day, here are the states we’ve highlighted so far, along with a map summarizing where we are in the series:

On the ballot in Rhode Island

At the federal level, Rhode Island voters will elect four presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and two U.S. Representatives. At the state level, 38 state Senate seats and 75 state House districts are up for election. Voters will also decide on one statewide ballot measure.

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 54% to 39% in Rhode Island. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win Rhode Island in 1984.
  • Rhode Island’s Kent County is a Pivot County. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators—Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse—are Democrats.
  • Democrats represent both of Rhode Island’s U.S. House districts.
  • Rhode Island’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, meaning it is one of 17 states with a Democratic triplex. It has held this status since 2015, when Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) assumed office.
  • Democrats have a 33-5 majority in the state Senate. In the state House, Democrats have 66 seats, Republicans have 8, and an Independent has 1. Because the governor is a Democrat, Rhode Island is one of 15 states with a Democratic trifecta. Democrats gained a trifecta when Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) assumed office in 2015.

Ballot measures

  • Rhode Island voters will decide one statewide measure on Nov. 3.
  • The Rhode Island Legislature referred Question 1 to the ballot. It would amend the constitution to remove “Providence Plantations” from the official state name.

Voting

  • Rhode Island changed its rules in 2020 to send absentee/mail-in ballot applications to all active registered voters in the general election.
  • Rhode Island does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their ballots in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 6.8% of all votes cast in Rhode Island.
  • Rhode Island law allows election workers to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots after polls close on Election Day.
  • Rhode Island requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about Rhode Island’s voter ID requirements, click here
  • Early voting began on Oct. 14 and ends on Nov. 2.
  • In Rhode Island, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rhode Island is in the Eastern time zone.

Learn more

Explore New Hampshire elections

On the ballot in New Hampshire

At the federal level, New Hampshire voters will elect four presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and two U.S. Representatives. At the state level, the governor, five Executive Council seats, 24 state Senate seats, and 400 state House districts are up for election.

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 46.8% to 46.5% in New Hampshire. George W. Bush was the last Republican to win the state in a presidential election in 2000.
  • Three of New Hampshire’s 10 counties are Pivot Counties, accounting for 36% of the state’s population. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of New Hampshire’s Senators—Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan—are Democrats.
  • Democrats represent both of the state’s U.S. House districts.
  • New Hampshire’s governor and attorney general are Republicans, while its secretary of state is a Democrat, meaning it is one of 14 states without a state government triplex.
  • Democrats have a 14-10 majority in the state Senate and a 230-156 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Republican, New Hampshire is one of 14 states without a state government trifecta. With 400 members, the New Hampshire House of Representatives is the largest state house in the U.S.

Battleground races

Here are two battleground races taking place in New Hampshire this year:

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D), Bryant “Corky” Messner (R), and Justin O’Donnell (L) are running for New Hampshire’s Class II seat in the U.S. Senate. The last Republican to win election to the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire was Kelly Ayotte (R) in 2010.
  • Governor: Incumbent Chris Sununu (R), Dan Feltes (D), and Darryl Perry (L) are running for a two-year term as governor. Sununu was first elected in 2016 and won re-election in 2018, defeating challenger Molly Kelly 53% to 46%. New Hampshire is one of four states that voted for Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 and has a Republican governor in 2020.

Ballot measures

There are no statewide measures on the ballot in New Hampshire this year.

Voting

  • New Hampshire changed its rules in 2020 to establish concern over Covid-19 as a valid reason for voting absentee in the general election.
  • New Hampshire does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their absentee/mail-in ballots in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by Election Day. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 7.5% of all votes cast in New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire law allows election workers to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots after polls close on Election Day.
  • New Hampshire requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about New Hampshire’s voter ID requirements, click here
  • In New Hampshire, polling hours vary by municipality. Polls must open by 11 a.m. and cannot close before 7 p.m. New Hampshire is in the Eastern time zone.

Learn more




About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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