On Nov. 8, voters in 37 states decided on 132 statewide ballot measures. As of Nov. 14, voters approved 87 (66%) and defeated 38 (29%). Seven (5%) remained uncalled; five were leaning ‘No’ and two were leaning ‘Yes.’
In 2020, 120 measures were on the ballot in November. Voters approved 88 (73%) and defeated 32 (27%). From 2010 to 2020, 67% of statewide ballot measures were approved.
The following are the results for measures addressing a selection of topics.
Abortion: Voters in five states decided on measures related to abortion. Campaigns that described themselves as pro-choice or pro-reproductive rights were successful on each measure. In California, Michigan, and Vermont, voters approved amendments to provide state constitutional rights to abortion. In Kentucky, voters rejected an amendment designed to provide that the state constitution cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. In Montana, a measure called the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was also defeated.
Marijuana: Measures to legalize marijuana were on the ballot in five states. Two—Maryland and Missouri—approved legalization measures. Three— Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota—rejected citizen-initiated measures. North and South Dakota have voted on marijuana legalization before. In 2018, voters in North Dakota rejected a measure. In 2020, voters in South Dakota approved a measure with 54%; however, the state Supreme Court struck down the measure. Including Maryland and Missouri, 21 states have passed laws to legalize marijuana, including 14 that did so via ballot measure.
Income Taxes: Voters decided on state income tax ballot measures in four states. In California, voters rejected an initiative to enact a 1.75% tax on personal income above $2 million and allocate revenue toward zero-emissions vehicles and wildfire programs. In Massachusetts, voters approved an amendment to enact a 4% tax on income above $1 million and allocate revenue toward education and transportation purposes. Voters in Colorado decided on two income tax-related measures, both of which were approved. Colorado Proposition 121 reduced the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40%. Colorado Proposition FF reduced income tax deductions and allocates increased revenue to a program for free school meals and local school food grants. In Idaho, voters approved a non-binding question asking about a bill to establish a flat income and corporate tax structure.
Firearms: In Oregon, voters approved an initiative, Measure 114, to require people to obtain a law enforcement-issued permit to purchase a firearm. Under Measure 114, obtaining a permit requires a photo ID, fingerprints, safety training, criminal background check, and fee payment. Measure 114 also prohibited ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. In Iowa, voters approved an amendment adding a right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution. The amendment also provided that “restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
RCV: Nevada Question 3, which would enact a top-five ranked-choice voting system, was approved. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments need to be approved at two successive general elections. As Question 3 was approved this year, the initiative must be approved for a second time on Nov. 5, 2024. At least nine local jurisdictions voted on RCV measures. Measures were approved in six jurisdictions – Ojai, CA; Fort Collins, CO; Evanston, IL; Portland, ME; Multnomah County, OR; and Portland, OR. Measures were defeated in two jurisdictions – Clark County and San Juan County, WA. In Seattle, voters decided on a competing measure between approval voting and RCV. The measure is too close to call as of Nov. 14, with 50.35% voting “Either” and 49.65% voting “Neither.” Should “Either” prevail, the system receiving the most votes would be enacted; RCV received 75% and approval voting received 25%.
Other Voting Policies: Voters decided on changes to voting-related policies in six states, including Nevada. In Nebraska, voters approved an initiative to require photo identification to vote. In Connecticut, an amendment to allow for early voting was approved. Voters in Ohio approved a constitutional amendment to prohibit local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote. In Michigan, voters approved Proposal 2, which added several new and existing election policies to the state constitution. One measure, in Arizona, remained uncalled. As of Nov. 14, Arizona Proposition 309 received 49.5% of the vote. This measure would require dates of birth and voter identification numbers for mail-in ballots and eliminate the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting.
Nov. 8 wasn’t the last state ballot measure election of 2022. On Dec. 10, voters in Louisiana will decide on three constitutional amendments, including an amendment, similar to Ohio’s, to prohibit local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote. The other two amendments would require Senate confirmation for appointees to the State Civil Service Commission and State Police Commission.
Earlier in 2022, voters in four states decided on five ballot measures. Voters approved three and rejected two of these measures.