Upcoming minimum wage ballot measures

Welcome to the Monday, August 1, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. An update on minimum wage ballot measures
  2. A look at Washington’s Aug. 2 primaries 
  3. Four candidates running in Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida

An update on minimum wage ballot measures

Welcome to August! We hope you had a great final July weekend.

Late last week, the One Fair Wage campaign in Michigan announced that it submitted more than 610,000 signatures to qualify a $15 minimum wage initiative for the ballot in 2024. This is one of several minimum wage measures that could or will appear on the ballot this year or in the future in states across the country. 

Here’s an overview of upcoming minimum wage ballot measures:

  • There is one minimum wage measure certified for the ballot this year—the Nevada Minimum Wage Amendment. If approved, the amendment will increase the minimum wage in the state to $12 per hour by July 1, 2024.
  • A second minimum wage measure could appear on the ballot this year in Nebraska. Signatures are currently being verified for that citizen-initiated measure. The initiative would increase the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2026.
  • In California, the California $18 Minimum Wage Initiative will be on the ballot in 2024. 

The Michigan $15 Minimum Wage Initiative is an indirect initiative, meaning that, if enough signatures are verified, it goes to the state legislature first for consideration before being placed on the ballot. If the legislature approves the measure, it is enacted into law, but if the legislature does not approve of the measure, it goes to the ballot for voters to decide. If approved by the legislature or voters, the initiative would increase the state minimum wage incrementally by a dollar every year, over the course of five years, until it reaches $15.

The signature submission follows a recent ruling by a Michigan judge regarding two 2018 citizen-initiated laws, including one that would raise the minimum wage to $12 incrementally by 2022. Rather than having the measures go to the ballot, the state legislature voted to approve them, but later amended the minimum wage measure to increase the wage to $12 by 2030, changing the timeline for the wage increase. 

The amended version was signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Snyder (R). Michigan One Fair Wage and Michigan Time to Care — the campaigns behind the two initiatives — sued the state of Michigan. The Michigan Court of Claims struck down these two amended initiatives, ruling that the adopt-and-amend tactic was unconstitutional.

From 1996 to 2021, there were 27 minimum wage increase measures on the ballot. Of the 27 measures, 25 were approved and 2 were defeated

The last time voters rejected a minimum wage increase at the ballot was in 1996 in Missouri and Montana. The last vote on a minimum wage measure was in Florida in 2020, when 60.82% of voters approved Amendment 2, a $15 minimum wage initiative. 

The average state minimum wage in 2022 is about $9.85, up from $9.59 in 2021. The three highest statewide minimum wages are:

  • $15.00 in California,
  • $14.49 in Washington, and
  • $14.25 in Massachusetts.

Twenty states use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for most employees.

Click below to read more about minimum wage ballot measures. 

Keep reading

A look at Washington’s Aug. 2 primaries 

Tomorrow, five states will hold primaries. We’ve looked at what will be on the ballot in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri. Let’s round off our summary of Aug. 2 primaries with an exploration of what Washington voters will see on their ballot.

For congressional and state-level elections, Washington uses a top-two primary system in which all candidates appear on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. 

Congressional primaries

Voters in Washington will decide primaries for a U.S. Senate seat and all 10 U.S. House districts. 

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Patty Murray (D) is facing off against 17 candidates, including Tiffany Smiley (R). Murray—who was first elected in 1992—and Smiley have raised the most money in the race.

Democrats hold a 7-3 majority in the state’s U.S. House delegation. Sixty-eight candidates filed to run in the 10 U.S. House districts—37 Republicans, 19 Democrats, seven independents and five third-party candidates. That’s 6.8 candidates per district, fewer than the 7.3 candidates in 2020, and more than the 4.9 candidates per district in 2018.

All 10 incumbents filed to run for re-election, meaning there were no open U.S. House seats for the first time in a decade.


Washington is holding a special election for secretary of state. Gov. Jay Inslee appointed the current incumbent, Steve Hobbs (D), on Nov. 10, 2021, to replace Kim Wyman (R). Wyman resigned to become security lead of the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration. Eight candidates are running in the primary, including Hobbs. The primary features two Democrats, three Republicans, an independent, and two minor-party candidates.  

Twenty-four state Senate districts and all 98 state House districts are up for election. Democrats hold a 29-20 majority in the Senate and a 57-41 majority in the House. Two hundred and ninety-two candidates filed to run across both chambers. There are 27 open seats in both chambers, and 42% of primaries are contested. Additionally, 33% of incumbents are running in contested primaries. 

In Washington, the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary, and who receive at least 1% of the votes, advance to the general election. Washington is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. The state does not cancel uncontested primaries for partisan offices but does cancel uncontested primaries for nonpartisan offices. Write-in candidates are required to file with the secretary of state or relevant county filing officer.  

Click below to learn more about Washington’s upcoming elections. 

Keep reading 

Four candidates running in Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida

Charlie Crist, Cadance Daniel, Nikki Fried, and Robert Willis are running in the Democratic primary election for Governor of Florida on Aug. 23. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is running for re-election. The Republican primary was canceled, so DeSantis automatically advanced to the general election.  

Crist and Fried have received the most media attention and endorsements.

Crist was elected to the U.S. House in 2016. He served as governor from 2007 to 2011, attorney general from 2003 to 2007, state education commissioner from 2001 to 2003, and in the state senate from 1992 to 1998. Crist was elected to state office as a Republican before becoming an independent in 2010 and a Democrat in 2012. Crist has campaigned on five steps he says would make it easier to vote in the state, including reversing 2021 changes to the state’s mail ballot policies, providing clean water, and easing transitions for out-of-state transplants. Three members of Florida’s U.S. House delegation, 22 members of the state legislature, the Florida Education Association, and the Florida AFL-CIO endorsed Crist.

Fried was elected as agriculture commissioner in 2018. Fried is the only Democrat to hold statewide elected office in Florida. Prior to holding elected office, she worked as a public defender, attorney in private practice, and government affairs advocate for the marijuana industry. Fried has campaigned on reducing housing costs, lowering the price of homeowner’s insurance, a $15 minimum wage, and creating a small business growth fund as key issues. Four members of the state legislature and the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida endorsed Fried.

Crist’s campaign has focused on restoring civility, ending divisive politics, and working across the political aisle. CNN’s Steve Contorno compared his campaign strategy to that of President Joe Biden (D) in 2020. Fried’s campaign has focused on the idea of electing a new face in Florida politics and has cited Crist’s loss in 2014 to then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Biden’s three-point 2020 loss in the state as reasons voters should nominate her.

Republicans currently hold both a trifecta and a triplex in the state, meaning they hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature along with the positions of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Florida is one of 20 states to have both a Republican trifecta and a Republican triplex. 

Keep reading