Ballot Measures Update
Sixty-four statewide measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 30 states so far. No new measures were certified for the ballot last week.
Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for six additional initiatives in Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, and Ohio:
- Alaska State Recognition of American Indian Tribes Initiative (2022)
- Florida Sports Betting Initiative (2022)
- Florida Casino Gaming Expansion Initiative (2022)
- Massachusetts App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative (2022)
- Massachusetts Changes to Alcohol Retail Licensing Initiative (2022)
- Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2022)
States in session
Thirty-eight state legislatures—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—are in regular session.
Thirty state legislative special elections have been scheduled in 15 states so far this year. Seven specials have taken place already. Heading into those races, Democrats had previously controlled six of the seats, and Republicans previously controlled one.
- In special elections between 2011 and 2021, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year.
- An average of 57 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
- An average of 85 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six odd years (2011: 95, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017:98, 2019: 77, 2021: 66).
Upcoming special elections include:
- California State Assembly District 17 (primary)
- California State Assembly District 49 (primary)
- New York State Assembly District 60
- New York State Assembly District 72
New Hampshire Secretary of State retirement triggers triplex status change
On Jan. 10, 2022, New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner (D), the longest-serving secretary of state in U.S. history, retired. The New Hampshire legislature first elected Gardner to the position in 1976.
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan (R) was sworn in after Gardner resigned. According to the New Hampshire Constitution, the deputy secretary of state replaces the secretary until a new secretary is appointed. Scanlan will serve the remainder of Gardner’s term, which ends in December 2022.
Scanlan’s swearing-in created a Republican triplex in New Hampshire, meaning that Republicans control the executive offices of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. In New Hampshire, a joint session of the state legislature chooses the secretary of state.
In 2022, 27 states are holding an election for secretary of state. Click here to read more about those elections. There are 21 Democratic secretaries of state and 26 Republican secretaries of state. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, or Utah.
Marijuana policy could be on numerous statewide ballots this year
Ballotpedia is tracking 20 citizen-initiated measures in nine states related to marijuana that could appear before voters in 2022. As of 2022, recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 36 states and D.C.
In Ohio, sponsors of an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana submitted an additional 29,918 signatures on January 13, after the secretary of state verified their initial petition contained 119,825 valid signatures–13,062 less than the number required. If enough of the additional signatures are found to be valid, the initiative will go before the state legislature. If the state legislature does not enact it outright, sponsors will have to collect a second round of 132,887 signatures to place it on the 2022 ballot. In 2015, Ohio voters defeated Issue 3 with a margin of 63.65% to 36.35%.
In Arkansas, voters could decide on two marijuana initiatives. One initiative would decriminalize marijuana, give limited immunity to cannabis businesses, and create regulations on the cannabis industry. The other would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older regardless of residency. Both campaigns have until July 8, 2022, to collect 89,151 valid signatures.
Florida voters could decide changes to the state’s medical marijuana amendment approved by voters in 2016 with two separate initiatives. Initiative #18-02 would add nine mental health disorders to the list of qualifying conditions to purchase and use medical marijuana. Initiative #18-05 would redefine medical use under the measure to include growing up to nine marijuana plants.
Nebraska has four initiatives cleared for circulation related to marijuana. Three of the initiatives would establish a state medical marijuana program and are sponsored by State Senators Anna Wishart (D) and Adam Morfeld (D). One initiative is a constitutional amendment, and the other two are state statutes. The Nebraska Hemp Company filed a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. The Nebraska signature deadline is July 7, 2022.
In North Dakota, an initiative was cleared for signature gathering that would legalize marijuana use for residents 21 years of age and older and allow a person to possess, grow, process, or transport up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. In 2018, North Dakota voters defeated Measure 3, an initiative that would have legalized marijuana, in a vote of 59.45% to 40.55%.
Kind Idaho filed an initiative to establish a state medical marijuana program. Sponsors attempted to qualify an identical initiative for the 2020 Idaho ballot but suspended their signature-gathering campaign in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters could also decide on an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative is sponsored by The Idaho Way. The campaigns need to submit 64,945 valid signatures by May 1, 2022.
In Missouri, there are three initiatives cleared for circulation that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The initiatives were filed by three different sponsors. A constitutional amendment to change the state’s medical marijuana program approved by voters in 2018 was also cleared for circulation. It would allow medical marijuana patients to grow marijuana for personal use, decrease the cost of a patient identification card from $100 to $25, and allow up to three primary caregivers for a medical marijuana patient. The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 160,199 signatures by May 8, 2022.
Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action filed three initiatives. Two initiatives would (1) amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana for persons 21 years old and older and (2) impose a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales for purchases by an individual without a medical marijuana license. The third initiative would make changes to the state’s medical marijuana program to create the State Cannabis Commission to replace the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
In South Dakota, an initiative to legalize marijuana was cleared for signature gathering. In 2020, 54.18% of voters approved Amendment A, which would have legalized marijuana, but it was later overturned by a supreme court ruling that found the initiative violated the state’s single-subject rule and constituted a revision of the constitution rather than an amendment. The 2022 initiative was filed by New Approach South Dakota, which also sponsored the 2020 amendment.
Click here to keep up-to-date on marijuana-related statewide ballot measures in 2022.
Ohio Redistricting Commission meets to develop new legislative maps
The Ohio Redistricting Commission met Jan. 18 and 20 ahead of a court-established Jan. 22 deadline to create new legislative maps. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 12 that state legislative district maps approved by the commission were partisan gerrymanders in violation of the state constitution. The Republican-controlled commission voted 5-2 along party lines to approve the maps on Sept. 16, 2021.
In its ruling, the court cited a constitutional amendment approved by Ohio voters in 2015 that revamped the state’s redistricting process by creating the bipartisan commission responsible for drawing state legislative maps without partisan bias. Voters approved the amendment with 71% of the vote.
The amendment also included a proportionality requirement, which directed the commission to try to match districts with statewide vote totals over the past decade. During the redistricting process, it was determined that Republicans had won 54% of the statewide vote since 2010 and Democrats had won 46%. The court said the commission’s maps favored Republicans in 68% of the House districts and 70% of the Senate districts, in violation of the amendment.
Kentucky adopts new legislative district boundaries
Kentucky adopted new legislative district boundaries this week after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto of legislation establishing new state House districts on Jan. 20. The vote to override the governor’s veto was 24-10 in the state Senate with all votes in favor by Republicans and eight Democrats and two Republicans voting against. The override vote was 69-23 in the state House, with all votes cast in favor by Republicans and 22 Democrats and one Republican voting to sustain Beshear’s veto.
In his veto statement, Gov. Beshear said he felt the redistricting plan split counties for partisan reasons. He also said, “Moreover, according to the demographic data the House released after it passed this bill, this plan appears to dilute the voices of certain minority communities.”
After the House voted to override the governor’s veto, state Representative Jerry Miller (R) said, “This is constitutional, it fully meets the voting [rights act]. And I think he was foolish to veto it.”
Gov. Beshear allowed the redistricting proposal for new state Senate districts to become law without his signature on Jan. 21. That legislation passed the state Senate on Jan. 6, 28-4, and the state House on Jan. 8, 67-23.
Kentucky statewide filing deadline is Jan. 25
Kentucky’s filing deadline for candidates seeking to run for office this year is Jan. 25. The deadline was originally Jan. 7, but Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the Kentucky General Assembly pushed back the date to give themselves more time to enact new state legislative and congressional maps.
The only state whose filing deadline has passed is Texas, where candidates had until Dec. 13 to file. Texas will be holding the earliest primaries of the 2022 election season, scheduled for March 1. Kentucky, Alabama, and West Virginia are among the 12 states holding primaries in May.
After Kentucky, the next deadline for candidates running in state and federal offices will be in Alabama, on Jan. 28, followed by Jan. 29 for candidates in West Virginia.
The next five filing deadlines for statewide and federal office will be:
- February 1 (New Mexico)
- February 2 (Ohio, state-level candidates only)
- February 4 (Indiana)
- February 15 (Nebraska)
- February 22 (Maryland)