Author

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a state ballot measures staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Oklahoma will vote on marijuana legalization in March. Ohio could follow in November

Voters in Oklahoma will decide on State Question 820, an initiative to legalize marijuana, on March 7, 2023. Voters in Ohio could decide on an initiative to legalize marijuana in Nov. 2023.

Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, which is leading the campaign in support of State Question 820, wanted the citizen-initiated measure on the ballot in 2022. However, due to legal challenges and signature deadlines, the measure could not be placed on the ballot and was set to be voted on at a later election date. On Oct. 18, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) called a special election for State Question 820 on March 7, 2023.

State Question 820 would legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana for adults 21 years old and older. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority would be responsible for marijuana business licensing and regulations. Sales of marijuana would be taxed at 15%. People would be allowed to possess, transport, and distribute up to one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, eight grams of marijuana in a concentrated form, and/or eight grams or less of concentrated marijuana in marijuana-infused products. Under State Question 820, individuals could possess up to six mature marijuana plants and up to six seedlings. The initiative would also provide a process for individuals to seek the expungement or modification of certain previous marijuana-related convictions or sentences.

Through Sept. 30, 2022, Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws raised $2.74 million and spent $2.57 million. The largest contributor was the Just Trust for Action, which donated $1.06 million.

In Ohio, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 136,729 valid signatures for a marijuana legalization initiative. As initiated statutes are indirect in Ohio, the proposal was presented to the Ohio General Assembly. Legislators have until May 3, 2023, to approve the measure. Should legislators reject or take no action on the initiative, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol would be required to collect an additional 124,046 valid signatures within 90 days, which would be around Aug. 1, 2023. A successful signature drive would result in the initiative appearing on the ballot for Nov. 7, 2023.

Through Dec. 9, 2022, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol raised $1.50 million and spent $1.42 million. The largest contributor was the Marijuana Policy Project, which provided $840,000.

As of Jan. 2023, 21 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

  • In 12 states and D.C., the ballot initiative process was used to legalize marijuana.
  • In two states, the legislature referred a measure to the ballot for voter approval.
  • In seven states, bills to legalize marijuana were enacted into law.

From 2011 to 2021, an average of 33 statewide ballot measures — five initiated measures and 28 referred measures — appeared on ballots in odd-numbered years.

Marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the 2024 ballot have also been filed in Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska.

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Seattle to decide on Social Housing Developer initiative on Feb. 14

On Feb. 14, Seattle voters will decide on Initiative 135, an initiative to create the Seattle Social Housing Developer, a public development authority to own, develop, and maintain what the initiative describes as social housing. According to Initiative 135, this housing would provide publicly financed apartments that are “removed from market forces and speculation” and built “with the express aim of housing people equitably and affordably … to remain affordable in perpetuity.”

Under Initiative 135, the public developer’s housing units would be available to those with a mix of income ranges from 0% to 120% of the area median income (which was $120,907 as of 2022). Rent prices would be limited to 30% of household income. Applications would not include prior rental references, co-signers, background checks, or application fees. Tenants would be selected using a lottery-based system.

As a public corporation, the Seattle Social Housing Developer would be allowed to issue bonds, receive federal funds and grants, receive private funds, and collect revenue for services.

House Our Neighbors! (HON), also known as Yes on I-135, is sponsoring the initiative. House our Neighbors needed to submit 26,520 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The group submitted 27,220 valid signatures.

HON stated, “Social Housing is publicly owned forever, permanently affordable, and creates cross-class communities and resident leadership. In countries around the world, such as Singapore, Austria, France, Uruguay and Canada, housing is a public good. Unlike in the United States, governments, not the private sector, are directing the housing market. By creating a community-controlled Social Housing Developer to buy and build housing that will be available to those across the income spectrum, Seattle will have another critical tool to address the suffering, displacement, and inequity that defines our housing landscape. We can create a Seattle not just for those with generational wealth and high incomes, but where ALL can live and thrive.”

The measure has received endorsements from State Sens. Joe Nguyen (D) and Rebecca Saldana (D) and State Reps. Frank Chopp (D) and Nicole Macri (D). It is also endorsed by the Green Party of Seattle and the Working Families Party of Washington.

The Housing Development Consortium, a non-profit organization based in Seattle with a mission to “build, sustain, and inspire a diverse network committed to producing, preserving, and increasing equitable access to affordable homes” released a statement on Initiative 135, writing, “The primary constraint on our ability to scale proven affordable housing models is the limited public resources available to fund affordable housing. … we are concerned [the initiative] distracts funds and energy away from what our community should be focusing on – scaling up affordable housing for low-income people. We do not need another government entity to build housing when there are already insufficient resources to fund existing entities. … The proposed new public development authority (PDA) would not have the authority to impose taxes on its own, so the funds necessary to set up the additional citywide PDA would likely draw from existing affordable housing funding that could otherwise be dedicated to creating homes for our lowest-income neighbors.”

Currently, the Seattle Housing Authority, an independent public corporation, provides low-income housing and rental assistance to 17,945 households. The SHA owns and operates 8,530 apartments and single-family homes in Seattle. Eighty-five percent of SHA housing serves households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (about $36,270). Funding for the Seattle Housing Authority comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), rent revenue, and public and private grants. The Social Housing Developer would not replace the Seattle Housing Authority.

Mail ballots must be postmarked no later than February 14 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on February 14. In Washington, individuals who prefer to vote in person rather than by mail may do so at voting centers, which are open during business hours for 18 days prior to the election. Washington allows for same-day voter registration.



South Carolina Supreme Court rules 3-2 that the state’s abortion ban is unconstitutional

On Jan. 5, 2023, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that the state’s six-week abortion ban, known as the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, was unconstitutional. Signed in February 2021, the law banned abortion once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. The bill was blocked from taking effect in March 2021 but became effective after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not grant the right to an abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade, in June 2022.

The court found that the law violated Section 10 of Article I of the state constitution, which provides a right against unreasonable invasions of privacy. Justice Kaye Hearn wrote that “few decisions in life are more private than the decision whether to terminate a pregnancy. Our privacy right must be implicated by restrictions on that decision.” Hearn wrote that the ban on abortion at six weeks was an unreasonable restriction and that six weeks was not a reasonable time period for a woman to find out she is pregnant and decide to get an abortion.

Justice George C. James dissented, writing, “The scope of the privacy right included in Article I, Section 10 is of doubtful import. Therefore, we must consider the intent of the framers and the voters. It is clear the framers did not intend to create a full panoply of privacy rights, much less the right to bodily autonomy or the right to have an abortion.”

In 2020, Ballotpedia published a report examining the partisan affiliation of state supreme court justices as of June 15, 2020, and found that South Carolina had a Republican-controlled state supreme court. In 2020, eight cases before the South Carolina Supreme Court were decided 4-1. Justices Few and Hearn dissented alone three times each. In this ruling, Hearn, Few, and Beatty formed the majority with Justices James and Kittredge dissenting. In the study, all Justices were recorded as having Mild Republican Confidence Scores while Justice Beatty was indeterminate.

The right to privacy was added to the state constitution through Amendment 1 of 1970, which was approved by voters in a vote of 77% to 23%. The amendment transposed sections from some articles of the Constitution to Article I and created a new Declaration of Rights (Article I), including a right to privacy.

Section 10 of Article 1 added the following right to the state constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and unreasonable invasions of privacy shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, the person or thing to be seized, and the information to be obtained.”

The amendment was proposed by the Committee to Make a Study of the South Carolina Constitution of 1895, also known as the West Committee, which was responsible for proposing amendments to revise the South Carolina Constitution of 1895. The committee’s final report was published in 1969 and proposed 17 new articles. To be placed on the statewide ballot, a two-thirds vote of the South Carolina State Legislature was required.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said, “Our State Supreme Court has found a right in our Constitution which was never intended by the people of South Carolina. With this opinion, the Court has clearly exceeded its authority. The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to correct this error.”

The South Carolina State Legislature can refer constitutional amendments to the ballot in 2024 by a two-thirds (66.66%) supermajority vote in each chamber.

In 2022, there were six ballot measures addressing abortion — the most on record.

Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont were the first to approve ballot measures to establish state constitutional rights to abortion. Votes on these ballot measures followed Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. These measures were also the first abortion-related ballot measures since 1992 to have the support of organizations that describe themselves as pro-choice/pro-reproductive rights.

Voters in Kansas rejected a measure to provide that the state constitution cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. On November 8, voters in Kentucky rejected a similar amendment. These types of amendments were designed to address previous and future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws.

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No signatures submitted for Washington Initiatives to the Legislature by Dec. 30 deadline

The deadline to submit signatures for Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington (ITL) was Dec. 30, 2022. Initiatives to the Legislature is the name of indirect ballot initiatives in Washington. The Washington Secretary of State’s office confirmed to Ballotpedia on January 3 that signatures were not submitted for any of the 179 filed initiatives. If proponents of any of the initiatives had submitted 324,516 valid signatures by Dec. 30, those initiatives would have been sent to the Washington State Legislature during its 2023 session, set to begin on Jan. 9.

The legislature would have then taken one of three actions:

  1. The legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people.
  2. The legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.
  3. The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

The last ITL to appear on the ballot was Initiative 976 sponsored by Tim Eyman to limit car tab renewal fees to $30 in 2019. During the 20-year period from 1999 to 2019, 12 Initiatives to the Legislature were on the ballot, of which, six were approved and six were defeated.

The first day to file Initiatives to the People (ITP) in Washington is Jan. 9. For Initiatives to the People—which are direct initiatives in Washington—a total of 324,516 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot. The last day to submit signatures for ITPs is July 7, 2023. As of Jan. 4, 2023, no Initiatives to the People had been filed. ITPs do not have to go before the legislature, and if enough valid signatures are submitted, ITPs are placed on the next general election ballot for a vote of the people.

The last time an ITP was on the ballot was in 2018 when voters decided on three initiatives concerning a carbon fee, firearm restrictions, and taxes on groceries. From 1999 to 2018, 49 Initiatives to the People were on the ballot, of which, 32 were approved and 17 were defeated.

A total of 61 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Washington during odd years between 1999 and 2021. Thirty-four measures (56%) were approved, and 27 measures (44%) were defeated.

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Ballotpedia’s analysis of 2022 local ballot measures in top 100 largest cities and state capitals

There were 382 local ballot measures in 39 different states on the ballot for voters in the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and state capitals. Of the measures, 348 (91.10%) were approved, and 34 (8.90%) were defeated.

Of the 382 local ballot measures within the top 100 cities and state capitals in 2022, 20 (5.23%) were citizen-initiated ballot measures. Initiatives are placed on the ballot through signature drives. The remaining 362 (94.76%) were referred to the ballot by local legislative bodies, such as county boards, city councils, school boards, and special district boards.

In 2022, Ballotpedia covered local measures that appeared on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and in state capitals not among the 100 largest cities. This included citywide measures and countywide, special district, and school district measures. Ballotpedia also covered all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures in the country. California local ballot measures are not included in the top-100 report aside from those included in the top 100 largest cities.

Among the top 100 largest cities, California (75 measures – 19.63%), Texas (55 measures – 14.40%), and Ohio (21 measures – 5.50%) were the three states with the most local measures covered.

The 2022 local ballot measures addressed a variety of topics from bond issues and taxes to local marijuana and local housing. Sixteen measures (4.19%) concerned elections, campaigns, and term limits. Thirteen measures (6.4%) concerned local law enforcement. Eighty-four (21.99%) concerned city, county, or district governance; local budgets; and public officials. Eighty-five measures (22.25%) concerned local taxes, and 113 measures (29.58%) were bond issues.

There were 113 local ballot measures that proposed the issuance of bonds in the top 100 largest cities and capitals in 2022 (including city, county, and school district bonds). The measures proposed a total of $32 billion in bonds. Voters approved 107 of the measures amounting to $31.34 billion. Voters rejected 6 ballot measures amounting to $697.6 million.

Ballotpedia also covered thirteen local ballot measures in four states — California, Colorado, Florida, and Washington — designed to move municipal election dates from odd to even-numbered years and to coincide with statewide elections, all of which were approved. Voters in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, approved measures to adopt ranked-choice voting for certain elections.



Ballotpedia’s year-end analysis of statewide ballot measures

Ballotpedia published its year-end analysis of the 140 statewide ballot measures voters decided in 2022. The year-end analysis provides:

  • a breakdown of approval rates by measure type
  • a breakdown of measures by topic
  • historical comparisons of the numbers and types of measures
  • data on citizen initiative activity compared to recent election cycles
  • a summary of signature petition drive costs and campaign finance data
  • an analysis of amendments to state constitutions
  • a summary of Ballotpedia’s ballot language readability analysis
  • a summary of bond and tax measures in 2022

Of the 140 statewide ballot measures, 96 (68.57%) were approved and 44 (31.43%) were defeated. Thirty of the measures were citizen initiatives, 104 were referred to the ballot by state legislatures, three were advisory questions, and three were automatically referred to the ballot.

  • On November 8, voters in 37 states decided on 132 statewide ballot measures. Voters approved 90 and rejected 42 ballot measures on November 8.
  • On December 10, voters in one state, Louisiana, decided on three ballot measures, all of which were approved.
  • Earlier in 2022, voters in four states decided on five ballot measures. Voters approved three and rejected two of these measures.

Highlights:

Lower number of citizen-initiated measures: There were 30 citizen-initiated measures in 2022, which was the lowest number compared to other even-numbered years since 2010. From 2010 to 2022, the average number of initiatives on the ballot in an even-numbered year was 53. Of all filed initiatives targeting the 2022 ballot, 3.52% qualified for and appeared on the ballot. The number of citizen-initiated measures that qualified for the ballot decreased 61% from 2016 to 2022, with 76 in 2016 and 30 in 2022.

Higher initiative signature costs: Campaigns for citizen-initiated measures spent a combined $118.29 million on signature gathering. The average total petition drive cost for 2022 was $4.08 million, an increase from previous years. In 2020, the average total petition cost was $2.06 million. In 2018, the average cost was $1.13 million. In 2016, the average cost was $1.03 million. From 2016 to 2022, the average cost of a petition drive increased 297%.

Campaigns received more than $1 billion: Of the 140 measures, 63 measures featured campaign finance. Ballotpedia identified $1.06 billion in contributions to support or oppose statewide measures on ballots in 2022. California accounted for $713.48 million (67%) of ballot measure campaign contributions.

  • Of the 30 initiated measures, all featured campaign finance. The position that raised more funds won 24 of 30 (80%) elections. The position that raised less or no funds won 6 of 30 (20%) elections.
  • In 2022, the ballot initiative that saw the most contributions for and against was California Proposition 27 at $418.5 million. A total of 10.2 million people voted on Proposition 27, leading to a cost-per-vote (CPV) of around $41.02. Supporters raised $169.3 million, and their position (‘yes’) received 1,794,689 votes, for a CPV of $94.36 per vote. Opponents raised $249.2 million, and their position (‘no’) received 8,407,777 votes, for a CPV of $29.64.

Changes to state constitutions: Voters in 28 states decided on 99 constitutional amendments in 2022. Voters approved 70 (70.71%) and rejected 29 (29.29%). Of the constitutional amendments, 88 were referred to the ballot by state legislatures, and 11 were put on the ballot through citizen initiative petitions.

Graduate-school reading level for ballot questions: In 2022, the average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, a readability metric that analyzes words and sentences, for the ballot titles or questions of all 140 statewide 2022 ballot measures was 19 (third-year graduate school reading level). The average ballot title grade for all measures in a single state averaged together ranged from 7 in Iowa to 44 in Kentucky. Citizen-initiated measures received an average title grade of 17 years of education, and referred measures received an average title grade of 20 years.

Voters decided nearly $5 billion in bond measures: Eight bond issues were on the ballot in four states in 2022. One bond measure in Alabama (totaling $85 million), three bond measures in Rhode Island (totaling $400 million), three bond measures in New Mexico (totaling $260 million), and one bond measure in New York (totaling $4.20 billion). All ballot measures were approved, totaling $4.94 billion in new bonds.



Minimum wages set to increase in 27 states in 2023 by an average of $0.87

In 2023, the minimum wage was set to increase in 27 states. The increases range from $0.23 in Michigan (a 2.28% increase from 2022) to $1.50 in Nebraska (a 14.29% increase from 2022).

  • one increase was set to take effect on December 31, 2022;
  • 22 increases were set to take effect on January 1, 2023;
  • one was set to take effect on June 1, 2023;
  • two were set to take effect on July 1, 2023; and
  • one was set to take effect on September 30, 2023.

Going into 2023, 20 states used the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25, and 30 states provided for state minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.

The 2023 increases come from state laws adopted in the past that provided for incremental increases of inflation adjustments. The highest state minimum wage in 2023 will be in Washington at $15.74.

The wage in Washington, D.C., increased from $15 to $16.10 on July 1, 2022, making it the highest minimum wage in the country. Additionally, voters in Washington, D.C., approved Initiative 82 in 2022 which increased the tipped minimum wage from $5.35 in 2022 to match the minimum wage of non-tipped employees in 2027.

Wages were lowest in Georgia and Wyoming, where the states’ $5.15 minimum wages are superseded by the federal government’s $7.25 per hour requirement.

On November 8, voters in Nebraska and Nevada approved minimum wage ballot measures. Nebraska Initiative 433 was designed to incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2026 and annually adjust the minimum wage thereafter by the cost of living.

Nevada Question 2 was designed to increase the minimum wage for all employees to $12 per hour by July 1, 2024, replacing the existing two-tiered system in which employees who receive healthcare benefits were set to have a lower minimum wage ($11) than those who do ($12) in 2024. On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage increased to $9.50 for employees with employer health benefits and $10.50 for employees without employer health benefits.

In 2022, one state legislature passed a bill providing for minimum wage increases. Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) signed House Bill 2510 into law as Act 114, raising the $10.10 per hour minimum wage to $12.00 per hour starting on October 1, 2022. Act 114 was designed to increase the minimum wage to $14.00 on January 1, 2024, to $16.00 on January 1, 2026, and $18.00 on January 1, 2028.

From 1996 to 2022, there were 28 minimum wage increase measures on the ballot. Voters approved 26 (92.86%) and rejected two (7.14%). The last time that voters rejected a minimum wage increase measure was in 1996, when measures were defeated in Missouri and Montana.



Voters in Louisiana will decide on three constitutional amendments on Dec. 10

Voters in Louisiana will decide on three constitutional amendments on Dec. 10.

Amendment 1 would prohibit local governments from allowing noncitizens to vote. Currently, Article I, Section 10 of the Louisiana Constitution reads, “Every citizen of the state, upon reaching eighteen years of age, shall have the right to register and vote…” This amendment would amend the section to read “Every person who is both a citizen of the state and of the United States, upon reaching eighteen years of age, shall have the right to register and vote…” It would also add, “No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state.”

Since 2018, constitutional amendments to state that only a citizen may vote were approved in five states: North Dakota, Colorado, Alabama, Florida, and Ohio.

Amendments 2 and 3 concern Senate confirmation for civil service and State Police Commission appointees.

Amendment 2 would require senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointees to the State Civil Service Commission. The commission regulates and administrates the state civil service system. Currently, six members of the Louisiana State Civil Service Commission are appointed by the governor. The presidents of Centenary College, Dillard University, Loyola University, Tulane University, Xavier University, and Louisiana College each nominate three individuals. The governor selects one member from each of the presidents’ nominations. The members must each be from one of the state’s six congressional districts. The seventh member is an employee representative that is elected by other state employees. The appointments are currently not subject to confirmation by the legislature.

Amendment 3 would require senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointees to the State Police Commission.

The Louisiana State Police Commission was created through a 1990 constitutional amendment that removed the state police from the civil service system and created a separate state police service. Going into the election, appointments to the Civil Service Commission and State Police Commission were similar. Six members of the Louisiana State Police Commission are appointed by the governor. The presidents of six state colleges and universities each nominate three individuals. The governor selects one member from each of the presidents’ nominations. The members must each be from one of the state’s six congressional districts.

State Sen. Cleo Fields (D) said, “I could not come up with one single reason why we did not put confirmation in the constitution when we created it. I just don’t know. There’s just really no good reason why we did not put the confirmation of these members.” Fields also said Louisiana is the only state with a separate oversight commission for state police and that all other boards and commissions in the state constitution require Senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointments.

Louisiana voters decided on eight constitutional amendments on Nov. 8; three were approved and five were defeated.



Voters approved 10, rejected 4 local measures in San Francisco

Voters in San Francisco decided on 14 local ballot measures on Nov. 8. Ten were approved and four were defeated.

Four were citizen initiatives, of which, one was approved and three were defeated. The city’s board of supervisors referred 10 of the measures to the ballot, of which 9 were approved and one was defeated.

The San Francisco Department of Elections certified election results on December 1, 2022. Of San Francisco’s 497,561 registered voters, ballots were cast by 310,071 voters, meaning voter turnout was 62.32%.

Some specific measures included:

  1. Proposition H, which was approved, changed elections for mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney, and treasurer from odd-numbered years to November of presidential election years. It also changed the signature requirements for city ballot initiatives from 5% of votes cast for the mayor to 2% of registered voters.
  2. Proposition L, which was approved, continues an existing one-half cent sales tax through 2053 for transportation funding and allows the Transportation Authority to issue up to $1.91 billion in bonds for transportation projects. A two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote is required for approval of this measure.
  3. Proposition M, which was approved, allows the city to tax owners of vacant residential units in buildings with three or more units if the units have been vacant for more than 182 days in a year. The rate would be between $2,500–5,000 per vacant unit, continuing through 2053, and the revenue would be dedicated to rent subsidies and certain housing entities.

On some topics, voters decided measures with opposing provisions. For example, Proposition D, which was defeated, would have expedited the approval of certain housing projects and removed the Board of Supervisors’ approval as a requirement for certain housing projects using city property or city financing. Proposition E, which was approved, expedited the approval of certain housing projects and continued requiring the Board of Supervisors’ approval for affordable housing projects using city property or city financing. 

Voters also decided to keep JFK Drive closed to cars and reserved for recreational use after competing measures appeared on the ballot.

San Francisco adopted the initiative and referendum process in 1898, more than a decade before California authorized it statewide. Ballot measures can be put before San Francisco voters in one of three ways: (1) the city council may refer them, (2) through a signature petition drive for an initiative, which proposes a new law, or (3) via a referendum, which puts a law that the city council passed before voters.

San Francisco voters decided on seven local measures on June 7, 2022, approving five and rejecting two. In November 2020, voters approved 12 of the 13 measures that appeared on the ballot. From 2010 through 2022, San Francisco voters decided on 158 local ballot measures—an average of 12.1 per year, including odd and even-numbered election years. Voters approved 109 (69%) and defeated 49 (31%).



Colorado ballot measure committees have raised $41.45 million

As of October 28, Ballotpedia identified $1.01 billion in contributions to support or oppose statewide measures on ballots in 2022. Colorado was among the top five states with the most ballot measure campaign contributions.

According to campaign finance reports due on October 31, which covered information through October 26, 15 committees supporting and opposing eight of the 11 measures on the ballot raised a combined $41.46 million and spent a combined $40.96 million.

Of the 15 committees, three were registered as committees opposing five of the measures. These committees raised $1.1 million. Keeping Colorado Local is a committee opposing all three alcohol initiatives on the November ballot.

The top donors to Colorado initiative campaigns this year included:

  • Colorado Fine Wine & Spirits LLC, which gave $11.59 million, and Robert and David Trone, who gave $1.8 million to Colorado Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness supporting Proposition 124 to expand retail liquor licenses;
  • Several grocery store companies gave $11.59 million to Wine in Grocery Stores, which supports Propositions 125 and 126 to allow wine sales in grocery stores and allow third-party delivery of alcohol. The companies included InstaCart ($4.36 million), DoorDash ($3.58 million), Target ($1.2 million), Albertsons Safeway ($1.36 million), and Kroger ($1.07 million).
  • New Approach PAC, which gave $3.89 million to Natural Medicine Colorado, which supports Proposition 122 to create a psychedelic plant and fungi access program; and
  • Gary Ventures Inc. and Gary Community Advocacy, which gave $2.55 million to Coloradans for Affordable Housing Now, which supports Proposition 123 to implement funding for housing projects through existing tax revenue.

In total, campaigns for six initiatives spent a combined $7.36 million on signature-gathering costs to put their initiatives on the ballot. The Wine in Grocery Stores PAC, which sponsored Proposition 125 and Proposition 126, paid Scotch Strategies $50,000 for the purpose of signature gathering. The PAC reported $3.19 million in expenditures to various entities for the purpose of consultant and professional services, which can include signature-gathering expenditures. Ballotpedia could not determine whether those additional expenditures were signature-gathering costs.

The next campaign finance report for Colorado ballot measure committees is due on December 13.

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