Local ballot measures: The year in review

Welcome to the Thursday, December 23, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Note: This will be the last edition of the Brew before the holidays. We hope you have a safe and healthy rest of your 2021. We’ll be back in your inbox on January 4. See you in the new year!

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ballotpedia’s year-end analysis of local measures in the largest U.S. cities and state capitals
  2. The Eleventh Day of Ballotpedia: Get the latest news from Ballotpedia in your inbox
  3. Spotlight: Our partnership with Truepic

Ballotpedia’s year-end analysis of local measures in the largest U.S. cities and state capitals

Ballotpedia recently published our year-end analysis of the 202 local ballot measures across 27 states in the 100 largest U.S. cities and state capitals. This report details the measures by type, by state, by topic, by outcome, and by election date. Here are some highlights from the report:

  1. We covered 202 local measures on the ballot for voters in the top 100 largest cities and state capitals in the U.S. in 2021.
  2. One hundred and forty-one (69.8%) were approved, and 61 (30.2%) were defeated.
  3. Ballotpedia covered local ballot measures in 27 states in 2021. Texas (44 measures – 21.7%), Colorado (21 measures – 10.4%), and New Mexico (16 measures – 7.9%) were the three states with the most local measures covered.
  4. Local measures were on the ballot in the top 100 cities and state capitals on 13 different election dates in 2021. Nov. 2 had the largest number of local measures with 137 (67.8%).
  5. Ballotpedia covered 12 notable police-related local ballot measures in 2021. Seven measures were approved, and five were defeated.
  6. Sixty-nine of the local measures were bond issues, and 55 were tax measures.
  7. Thirteen measures were related to elections, campaigns, and voting policy.
  8. Thirty-one (15.4%) of the measures were citizen-initiated measures placed on the ballot through signature drives. The remaining 171 (84.7%) were referred to the ballot by local legislative bodies, such as county boards, city councils, school boards, special district boards, and charter revision commissions.

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The Eleventh Day of Ballotpedia: Get the latest news from Ballotpedia in your inbox

We know staying on top of political news can feel like a full-time job, so we want to help you be informed without having to put in eight-hour days on Ballotpedia. Instead, let us send the important news to your inbox.

Nearly one million people subscribe to Ballotpedia newsletters, and our coverage of school board races and recalls have been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and more. 

We currently offer 15 newsletters to our readers, ranging from the front lines of primary battles to federal regulatory activity to corporate activism. Every day, our team updates hundreds of pages on our site, making our content available to each and every internet user, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We keep an eye on federal, state, local, and territorial politics and policies so you don’t have to, bringing you in-depth election reporting from the presidential race down to school board elections. 

We take all the important information and send it to you in a series of straightforward emails that you can digest with your morning coffee. Your support ensures that we can continue developing and delivering this breadth of knowledge straight to your inbox. 

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Spotlight: Our partnership with Truepic

Part of our mission at Ballotpedia is to provide voters with accurate and trustworthy information about their candidates. In 2020, we partnered with Truepic to help us do just that with candidate responses to our survey, Candidate Connection.

We’ve talked about Candidate Connection in previous editions of the Brew. Candidate Connection enables voters to really get to know their candidates and access the information they need to make a decision.

When a candidate submits a response to our survey, we go a step further by verifying their identity, ensuring that responses are submitted by the actual candidates themselves. This is where Truepic comes in. Truepic makes the process of collecting survey responses more secure by helping us verify the identities of the candidates who submit. 

When a candidate submits a response, Ballotpedia gives them the option to confirm their identity by sending in a picture of their photo identification card using the mobile app Vision by Truepic. Truepic’s Vision mobile app leverages advanced computer vision, machine learning, and over 20 verification tests to evaluate the authenticity of the picture submitted.

In short, this process makes our survey more secure and improves the quality of information on candidates, meaning voters can feel confident as they’re casting their ballots. You can read more about our partnership with Truepic here.

If candidates choose not to use the Vision mobile app, they have the alternative option of sending a public tweet from their active, official campaign Twitter account.

In 2021, Ballotpedia received 1,706 survey responses. Ballotpedia was able to verify 1,245 of them, a rate of about 73%. We’ll have more data about who completed the Candidate Connection survey in 2021 after the New Year. In the meantime, view our 2020 report at the link below.

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