Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 27, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November
  2. Ryan v. Vance in Ohio’s U.S. Senate election
  3. Toss-up U.S. Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections in Nevada this year

Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November

We are 42 days—exactly six weeks—from election day. Voters in 36 states will decide on 129 ballot measures on Nov. 8, covering issues ranging from abortion to marijuana to election laws. 

Five measures were decided earlier this year, and three more are slated for December, bringing the total number of statewide ballot measures for 2022 to 137.

This total—137—is more than the number of measures in 2020, which was 129. But it is lower than the preceding decade’s (2010-2022) average of 164.

Citizens placed thirty measures on the ballot, the fewest this century. In 2020, there were 43 citizen-initiated measures.

One reason for this decrease might be record-high voter turnouts in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

Of the 26 states that have some form of initiative or referendum, 22 based their signature requirements on turnout in those years’ elections. When turnout goes up, so does the number of signatures needed for citizen-initiated ballot measures.

According to the U.S. Elections Project, turnout in 2018 was at 50%, the highest since 1912, and 13 percentage points greater than in 2014. Presidential election turnout in 2020 was 67%, the highest since 1900, and seven percentage points greater than in 2016.

There are also fewer citizen-initiated measures, on average, during midterm years compared to presidential election years. From 2010 to 2022, presidential years had an average of 60 citizen-initiated measures, compared to 47 during midterm years.

Regarding the content of this year’s statewide measures, both citizen-initiated and legislatively-referred, we have identified trends including abortion, marijuana, and election policies. 

  • Abortion has appeared on statewide ballots since the 1970s. Since 2000, there have been just two general election cycles—2002 and 2016—without abortion-related statewide ballot measures.

This year, there six five abortion-related measures, a single-year record. Voters in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont will decide five in November. Kansas voters defeated a proposed measure in August.

Before 2022, the largest number of abortion-related measures on statewide ballots was four in 1986.

  • Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 19 states, 13 of which approved legalization through ballot measures.

In 2022, five more states—Arkansas, Maryland Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota—will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

  • Voters in 10 states will decide on measures to change election policies. Additionally, South Dakota decided on a measure in June, and Louisiana will decide on another in December.

Three of these states involve legislative proposals to change processes for citizen-initiated ballot measures. Other issues include early voting, voter identification, citizenship requirements, and campaign finance reporting.

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Ryan v. Vance in Ohio’s U.S. Senate election

Between now and Election Day, we will be taking a look at some of the most-watched races we are covering this year.

Today: Ohio’s open U.S. Senate election.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R) are running for the seat. Incumbent Rob Portman (R) is retiring, making this one of six open U.S. Senate elections this year.

Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002, most recently winning re-election in 2020 following an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Ryan is campaigning on revitalizing the state’s manufacturing industry, renegotiating foreign trade deals, and expanding affordable healthcare. 

Vance served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, before working in venture capital in San Francisco. In 2016, Vance wrote Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir about growing up in Middletown, Ohio.

Vance is campaigning on returning manufacturing to Ohio, addressing nationwide immigration policies, and breaking up large technology companies. 

Two election forecasters rate the general election as Lean Republican and one rates it as Likely Republican. An average of two recent polls found 44% of respondents supporting Ryan and 48% supporting Vance with 8% undecided.

Former President Donald Trump (R) won Ohio by eight percentage points in 2016 and 2020. In U.S. Senate races, Portman won re-election in 2016 by 19 percentage points and Brown won in 2018 by seven percentage points.

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Toss-up U.S. Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections in Nevada this year

Today is the 21st day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Nevada, the Silver State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont

On the ballot in Nevada

At the federal level, Nevadans will elect one U.S. Senator and four U.S. Representatives. Ten state executive offices are up for election, including the governorship and four seats on the state board of regents.

All 42 seats in the state Assembly and 11 of the state’s 21 Senate seats are also up for election.

Nevada is one of 30 states holding state supreme court elections this year, with two seats on the ballot along with three on the state’s appellate court.

We are also covering elections in five cities—Carson City, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Reno—and in Clark and Washoe Counties. This includes each county’s school district.

Redistricting highlights

The number of U.S. House districts in Nevada remained the same at four following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines this year. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Nevada’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

You can interact with our map comparison tools by visiting our Nevada redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Nevada’s U.S. Senators—Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen—are Democrats.
  • Nevada has three Democratic U.S. Representatives and one Republican.
  • Nevada has had a Democratic governor since 2019.
  • Democrats hold an 11-9 majority in the Senate and a 25-16 majority in the Assembly.
  • With a Democratic governor and majorities in both legislative chambers, Nevada is one of 14 Democratic trifectas, a status it has held since 2019. It is also one of three moderately vulnerable Democratic trifectas this year.
  • In addition to the governor, Nevada has a Democratic attorney general and a Republican secretary of state, making it one of nine states without a state government triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, nine state legislative seats in Nevada, or 17% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are running for 44 seats up for election. Nine seats (17%) do not feature a Democratic candidate and a Republican is likely to win.

Nevada is one of three states where Republicans are contesting every seat up for election.

Key races

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) faces former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) and three others. Three election forecasters rate the race as a toss-up.
  • Governor: Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D) faces former Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) and two others. An average of five recent polls showed Sisolak at 43% and  Lombardo at 42%.
  • 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Dina Titus (D) faces Mark Robertson (R) and one other candidate in the Las Vegas-area district. Joe Biden won the 1st District vote with 62% in 2020. Had the election been held under the new district lines, Biden would have won with 53% of the vote.
  • 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Susie Lee (D) faces April Becker (R) in the Las Vegas-area district. One election forecaster rates this race as Tilt Democratic and two rate it as a toss-up.

Ballot measures

There are three measures on the ballot this year:

  • Question 1 would add language to the state constitution prohibiting the denial of rights on account of an individual’s race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.
  • Question 2 would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour for all employees by 2024.
  • Question 3 would create top-five primaries where every candidate appears on the same primary ballot and the five with the most votes advance to a general election decided using ranked-choice voting. These changes would apply to congressional, state executive, and state legislative elections.

The Legislature put Questions 1 and 2 on the ballot, voting in favor of both in two successive sessions. If voters approve these measures in November, they become law.

Question 3 was placed on the ballot by voters. If approved in November, it would need to be approved again in 2024 to become law.

One hundred twenty-eight ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Seventy-nine were approved and 49 were defeated.


  • Nevada is one of eight states that conducts all-mail elections, meaning every registered voter is mailed a ballot ahead of the election. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8, with tracking available here
  • The state also provides in-person voting opportunities with polls open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Nevada does not require voters to present identification while voting, in most cases. Identification may be required for first-time voters. Learn more here.
  • Early in-person voting begins on Oct. 22 and ends on Nov. 4.
  • If registering by mail, the deadline is Oct. 11, with mailed registrations postmarked by that date. The deadline to register online is Nov. 4. Nevada also allows same-day registration when voting in person on Election Day if the voter has a Nevada license or ID card.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

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