An amendment that will change the vote threshold requirement to pass ballot measures in Arizona will appear on the ballot this November.
On June 23, 2022, the Arizona State Senate voted 16-12 to put the measure on the ballot. All Republicans voted to pass the amendment, while all Democrats voted against it. The vote was also split down party lines when the Arizona House voted 31-28 to pass the amendment on February 22.
Currently, for a ballot measure to pass in Arizona, a simple majority (50.01%) is required. This amendment would change that requirement to a three-fifths supermajority (60%) for citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments.
The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Tim Dunn (R-13), who said that while the initiative process is valuable, there may be concerns with outside influences on elections. “I think it’s super important we have an initiative process and the ability for voters to have their will done,” Dunn said, “But I wanted to do this bill because we have become a petri dish for outside money to come in and, with a small amount of voters, get something to pass that is very hard to get changed in the future.”
Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-27) said that this measure will make it harder for initiatives to pass. “Make no mistake — it is designed to make it more difficult for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot,” he said. “No matter how it’s spinned, the primary purpose is to make it more difficult for Arizonans to have our voices heard when the legislature chooses not to act on popular policies that the public is asking for.”
Currently, four states require some sort of supermajority vote to approve a ballot measure–Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Florida. This year, Arkansas will also have a similar measure on the ballot that requires a constitutional amendment or ballot initiative to have a 60% vote. Voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C on June 7. Amendment C would have required a 60% vote that increase taxes or fees or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.
There are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot this November. The seven others are:
- The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents.
- The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
- The Sales Tax for Fire District Funding Measure, which creates a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund Arizona’s fire districts.
- The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court.
- The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
- The Property Tax Exemptions Amendment, which allows the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications
- The Create the Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment, which creates the office of Lieutenant Governor
In Arizona, 73 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Forty-four (60%) of them have been approved, and 29 (40%) of them have been defeated.