Arizona legislature refers 11 measures to the general election ballot, most on record since 1984

The Arizona State Legislature adjourned on June 15, 2024, and referred 11 measures to the ballot—five state statutes and six constitutional amendments. This is the most legislatively referred measures on the ballot since 1984, when 13 measures were on the ballot, and the third-highest year on record in the state.

Some measures did not make the ballot—an additional 15 amendments and five statutes passed one chamber, but not the other.

Arizona has a divided government. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) was elected in 2022 and took office in 2023, the first time since 2008 that Arizona had a Democratic governor. Meanwhile, the Republican Party controls both chambers of the legislature.

In Arizona, the most legislative referrals were on the ballot in 1980, when 16 measures were referred by the legislature. In 1980, Arizona had a Democratic governor, and the Republican Party controlled both legislative chambers. In 1984, the second-largest number of referred measures were on the ballot. Arizona had a divided government in 1984, with a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature. This year, 2024, has the third largest number of referred measures.

In all three years—1980, 1984, and 2024—Arizona had a divided government with a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature.

In Arizona, a simple majority vote in both chambers of the legislature is needed to refer an amendment or statute to the ballot. Constitutional amendments and referred statutes do not require a governor’s signature for approval. 

As the governor cannot veto referred measures, including statutes, legislators may choose to send a law to voters to decide, rather than to the governor’s desk.

For example, in March 2024, Gov. Hobbs vetoed a bill that would have made crossing the border without authorization a misdemeanor state crime. The state legislature drafted and approved a new proposal that included provisions from the vetoed bill. This time, instead of sending it to Gov. Hobbs, legislators sent it to the ballot. State Sen. Janae Shamp (R-29), who sponsored the vetoed bill, said, “I’m proud that we’re including much of that language in the Secure the Border Act, so that we can send this to the ballot to the citizens — we the people.”

Like Arizona, Wisconsin has a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled state legislature. Between 2011 and 2018, when there was a Republican trifecta, there was an average of 0.4 measures on the ballot each year, with no more than 1 measure on the ballot each year. Between 2019 and 2024, with a Democratic governor and Republican legislature, there was an average of 1.5 measures on the ballot per year, with 3 measures on the ballot in 2023 and five measures on the ballot this year in 2024. Two measures were approved on April 2, with two measures on the ballot on Aug. 13, and one measure on the ballot on Nov. 5.

In Arizona, while there are currently 11 measures on the ballot referred by the legislature, the number of measures on the ballot may increase with citizen initiatives. For citizen-initiated measures to be on the ballot, enough valid signatures must be submitted by July 3, 2024.

The following are the legislatively referred measures on the 2024 Arizona ballot.

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