Update on this year’s and next year’s ballot measure certifications

In 2023, 41 statewide measures were certified for the ballot in eight states, 10 more measures than the average number certified at this point in other odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021. 

For 2024, 49 statewide measures have been certified in 22 states. That’s one more measure than the average number certified at this point from 2010 to 2022.

Here’s an update on the latest ballot measure activity.

One ballot measure was passed but is awaiting the governor’s signature as of Oct. 3. In California, the Legislature approved a referred statute, the Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure.

  • The ballot measure would change the name of the Mental Health Services Act to the Behavioral Health Services Act and expand the act’s purpose to include preventing and treating substance use disorders.
  • The ballot measure would also restructure how the funding is allocated in counties that provide behavioral health services and programs and issue $6.4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing for homeless veterans and individuals with behavioral health needs.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he would sign the legislation, which would place the measure on the ballot for March 5, 2024.

There are no more potential citizen-initiated ballot measures for 2023. Six of the 41 state ballot measures in 2023 are ballot initiatives—five are initiated statutes, and one is an initiated constitutional amendment. Six is the largest number of citizen-initiated ballot measures during an odd-numbered year since 2011 when there were 12.

The other 35 measures are legislative referrals—measures that legislatures voted to put on the ballot. That number is the same as the number in 2021 when there were also 35 legislative referrals.

Unlike the odd-numbered years from 2013 to 2021, there will be no advisory questions on the ballot in Washington. On April 20, 2023, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill eliminating the mandatory advisory votes on bills to increase taxes. An average of five advisory votes appeared on the ballot for each odd-numbered year in Washington from 2013 to 2021.

From 2010 to 2022, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164. By this time in even-numbered years from 2010 through 2022, an average of 48 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot.