116 statewide measures certified (so far) for this year’s ballot

Welcome to the Monday, August 8, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. 116 statewide measures certified for this year’s ballot
  2. A look at Wisconsin’s upcoming primaries 
  3. California Propositions 26 and 27 become the most expensive ballot measures in California since 1999 

116 statewide measures certified for this year’s ballot

Happy Monday! Let’s kick this week off with an update on ballot measures. As of Aug. 3, 116 statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in 35 states. That’s 31 less than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020. 

Three new measures in Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada were certified for the ballot in the past two weeks. Here’s a quick summary of those measures.

  • Colorado Decriminalization and Regulated Access Program for Certain Psychedelic Plants and Fungi Initiative: This initiative would decriminalize the personal use and possession for adults age 21 and older of some hallucinogenic/entheogenic plants and fungi, including psilocybin. The initiative would allow anyone who completed a sentence following a conviction related to the personal use or possession of such substances to petition a court to seal the record of the conviction. Click here to read more about this measure, including arguments for and against. 
  • Idaho Income Tax Increases for Education Funding Initiative: This initiative would amend state statute to increase the tax on income above $250,000 for individuals, trusts, and estates and above $500,000 for couples filing jointly to $16,097 plus 10.925%, and establish the Quality Education Fund. Revenue from the increased taxes would be deposited into the fund and distributed to public school districts and charter schools. Reclaim Idaho sponsored the initiative. The group previously sponsored the approved 2018 ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid eligibility in the state. Click here to read more about this measure, including arguments for and against. 
  • Nevada Top-Five Ranked Choice Voting Initiative: This initiative would eliminate partisan primaries and establish open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections. The change would apply to congressional, gubernatorial, state executive offices, and state legislative elections. Click here to read more about this measure, including arguments for and against.

There are 17 initiatives in seven states that have submitted signatures for verification. 

From 2010 to 2020, an average of 164 statewide measures were certified for the ballot in even-numbered years. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 147 statewide measures had been certified. 

Click below to learn more about this year’s statewide ballot measures. 

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A look at Wisconsin’s upcoming primaries 

Wisconsin voters will go to the polls tomorrow, Aug. 9, for their state’s primaries (voters in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Vermont will do the same). Here’s what’s on the ballot in the Badger State. 

Congressional primaries

Wisconsinites will decide Republican and Democratic primaries for one U.S. Senate seat and all eight of the state’s U.S. House districts. Taking these in turn…

  • In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson faces challenger David Schroeder. Johnson was first elected in 2010, and won re-election in 2016 against Russ Feingold (D) by 3.4 percentage points. Five candidates are running in the Democratic primary, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who has led in fundraising and media attention. Click here to read his answers to our Candidate Connection survey. Overall, eight candidates will appear on the Democratic ballot, but three of those candidates—Tom Nelson,  Alex Lasry, and Sarah Godlewski—withdrew from the race. All three candidates endorsed Barnes. 
  • Wisconsin is one of seven states with U.S. Senators from different parties. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is the state’s other Senator. The other states with split U.S. Senate delegations are Maine, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia. In Maine and Vermont, independents Angus King and Bernie Sanders, respectively, caucus with Democrats. 
  • All eight of Wisconsin’s U.S. House districts are up for election. Going into the election, Republicans have a 5-3 majority. Twenty-two candidates filed to run for the eight districts, including nine Democrats and 13 Republicans. The 22 candidates who filed this year were the fewest candidates running for Wisconsin’s U.S. House seats since 2012, when 20 candidates ran. Twenty-three candidates ran in 2020, 25 in 2018, 23 in 2016, and 27 in 2014. The Third District is the open race this year, as Rep. Ron Kind (D) did not run for re-election.

State elections

This year, voters will decide elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer. In the gubernatorial election, incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D), first elected in 2018, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Four candidates are running in the Republican primary. Scott Walker (R) was the last Republican governor of Wisconsin. He held office from 2011 to 2019.

Voters will also decide elections for 17 state Senate districts and all 99 seats in the state Assembly. Republicans have a 21-12 majority in the Senate and a 57-38 majority in the Assembly (with four vacancies). There are 38 contested state legislative primaries across both chambers, which is 16% of the total number of possible primaries and a 15% increase compared to the 2020 election cycle. Republican candidates drove the increase this cycle. Of the 38 contested primaries on Tuesday, there are nine for Democrats and 29 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 18 in 2020, a 50% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased 93% from 15 in 2020 to 29 in 2022.

In Wisconsin, the primary candidate with the most votes wins—even if that candidate receives less than 50% of the total vote. Wisconsin is one of 40 states without primary election runoffs. In Wisconsin, uncontested primaries are not canceled. Write-in candidates are required to file, and the deadline to do so was Aug. 5.

Click below to read more about Wisconsin’s primaries. 

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California Propositions 26 and 27 become the most expensive ballot measures in California since 1999 

Earlier in this edition, we gave you a bird’s eye view of this year’s ballot measures. Now, let’s zoom in a bit and look at two California measures that have given rise to a lot of spending from supporters and opponents. 

Committees supporting and opposing California Propositions 26 and 27, which would enact in-person and mobile sports betting, respectively, have raised more than $256.4 million, becoming the most expensive ballot measures in California history. The committees eclipsed the 2020 app-based drivers initiative, Proposition 22, which raised $224.3 million.

Proposition 26, backed by American Indian tribes, would legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California. Proposition 27, which is supported by BetMGM LLC, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings, would legalize online and mobile sports betting. 

Based on current campaign finance reports the most expensive measures behind Proposition 26, Proposition 27, and Proposition 22 were four veto referendums against gaming compacts—Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97—that raised a combined total of $154.5 million. 

The following table shows the top eight most expensive ballot measures between 1999 and 2020.

Californians will decide on seven ballot propositions this November. We’re tracking 11 committees surrounding the measures that have raised a total of $352.1 million.

Click below to read more about California’s 2022 measures. 

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