Maine and Ohio see higher than average number of initiatives qualify for the 2023 ballot

In Maine and Ohio, more citizen-initiated ballot measures qualified in 2023 than the average for odd-numbered years between 2011 and 2021 for each respective state.

Maine initiative sponsors filed six initiatives and qualified four of the measures for the Nov. 2023 ballot. For the last six odd-numbered years, an average of nearly seven initiatives were filed in Maine with an average of one initiative certified each cycle.

The four Maine initiatives that will appear on the ballot include voter approval for certain utilities to incur debt that exceeds $1 billion, prohibiting election spending by foreign governments and entities, the creation of Pine Tree Power Company, and a right-to-repair law. They are all indirect initiated state statutes, which means the state legislature had the opportunity to enact them with the governor’s signature or send them to the ballot.

In Maine, the number of valid signatures required to qualify for the 2023 ballot was 63,067—10% of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

Ohio initiative sponsors filed an average of seven initiatives for odd-numbered years and qualified an average of one measure each cycle between 2011 and 2021. For 2023, four initiatives were filed with two certified for the Nov. ballot. 

Ohio voters will decide on an initiative that would amend the Ohio Constitution to provide that each individual has the right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including decisions about abortion. This initiated constitutional amendment needed 413,488 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, which is equal to 10% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. 

Voters will also decide on a marijuana legalization initiative. If approved, it would make Ohio the 24th state to legalize marijuana for recreational or personal use. The initiative is an indirect state statute that needed 249,092 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, which is 6% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

Ballotpedia tallied 262 ballot initiatives filed for the 2023 ballot, of which seven were certified for elections in 2023. This is the most since 2011 when 10 initiatives and 2 veto referendums made the ballot.

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