Author

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a state ballot measures staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jackie.mitchell@ballotpedia.org

New campaign finance reports in for 2020 Colorado ballot measures show support campaigns ahead in fundraising

New campaign finance reports for Colorado ballot measures, which covered information through December 31, 2019, show support campaigns had raised more money than opposition campaigns.

So far, four measures are certified to appear on the November 2020 ballot in Colorado, including one legislatively referred bond issue, a veto referendum, and two citizen initiatives. No issue committees have registered to support or oppose the bond issue.

Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative:
The initiative would amend the Colorado Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. can vote in Colorado. The existing language says “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote. Current Colorado law requires U.S. citizenship to register to vote.

This measure is supported by Citizen Voters, Inc., a Florida-based not-for-profit organization founded by John Loudon that supports similar measures to amend state constitutions nationwide. Amendments to change constitutional language to explicitly require voters to be U.S. citizens are also on the 2020 ballot in Alabama and Florida.

Colorado Citizen Voters is the issue committee supporting the measure in Colorado. The committee reported $36,000 in cash contributions and $1.43 million in in-kind contributions. Citizen Voters, Inc. contributed 99.25% of the total contributions to the committee. The committee reported in $28,507 in cash expenditures.

There are no committees registered to oppose the initiative.

Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative:
The initiative would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide by the end of 2023.

One committee is registered to support the initiative: Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund (RMWAF). The committee reported $1.35 million in contributions and $1.32 million in expenditures. The top donor to the RMWAF, with contributions totaling $333,650, was the Tides Center, which describes itself as “a philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice.”

Two committees are registered to oppose the initiative: Coloradans Defending Our Wildlife and Coloradans Protecting Wildlife. Coloradans Defending Our Wildlife had not yet reported campaign finance activity. Coloradans Protecting Wildlife reported $10,125 in cash contributions and $66.50 in cash expenditures. The top donor to the opposition campaign was the Colorado Farm Bureau, which gave $3,500.

National Popular Vote Referendum:
The referendum, if approved, would make Colorado part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) and give all of Colorado’s nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide if the NPVIC becomes effective.

Two committees are registered to support a yes vote on the referendum: Coloradans for National Popular Vote and Yes on National Popular Vote. Together, the committees reported $1.89 million in contributions and $454,436 in expenditures. The top donor to the support campaign was Stephen Silberstein, a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit National Popular Vote., who gave $500,000.

One committee registered to support a no vote on the referendum: Protect Colorado’s Vote. The committee reported $802,219 in contributions and $738,598 in expenditures. The top donor to the opposition campaign was the Better Jobs Coalition, which gave $105,000.

In 2018, Colorado was the #6 state with the most campaign finance activity reported for state ballot measure campaigns. Thirteen measures were on the ballot in Colorado in 2018. Combined, support and opposition campaigns spent $70 million supporting and opposing the 13 measures. The #1 state was California, with $363 million spent supporting and opposing 16 measures.

A total of 108 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Colorado during the 20-year period from 1999 through 2019. From 1999 through 2019, about 42% (45 of 108) of the total number of measures that appeared on the statewide ballot were approved, and about 58% (63 of 108) were defeated.

Additional Reading:
Colorado 2020 ballot measures
Ballot measure campaign finance, 2018



Oklahoma will decide Medicaid expansion in 2020

Oklahoma voters will decide whether or not to expand Medicaid in November. State Question 802, which qualified for the ballot on January 9, would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. It would provide Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level. Because the ACA includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

Proponents reported submitting 313,000 signatures on October 24, 2019. To qualify for the ballot, 177,958 valid signatures were required. Governor Kevin Stitt (R) will determine whether the measure will appear on the June 30 primary ballot or the November 3 general election ballot. In 2018, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) placed State Question 788, the medical marijuana initiative, on the June primary ballot. Prior to 2018, a governor had not selected a date different from the general election for an initiative since 2005.

Medicaid is a government program that provides medical insurance to groups of people with income below a certain level and individuals with disabilities. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which was enacted in 2010, provided for the expansion of Medicaid to cover all individuals earning incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sebelius that the federal government could not withhold funds from states that refused to expand Medicaid. The ruling had the practical effect of making Medicaid expansion optional for states. In 2018, the federal government financed 94% of the costs of state Medicaid expansion. For 2020 and subsequent years, the federal government was set to cover 90% of the costs. As of 2020, a total of 36 states and Washington, D.C., had expanded or voted to expand Medicaid, while 14 states had not.

In 2017, voters in Maine approved a ballot measure to expanded Medicaid to persons under the age of 65 and with incomes equal to or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. The measure was the first citizen initiative to implement expanded Medicaid.

In January 2018, voters in Oregon approved Measure 101, thereby upholding 2017 legislation to provide funding for the state’s portion of costs for expanded Medicaid coverage through a tax on healthcare insurance and the revenue of certain hospitals. In November 2018, voters in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah voted on ballot initiatives concerning Medicaid expansion and the funding of expanded Medicaid coverage. The Utah and Idaho measures were approved and later altered by the state legislatures. The Nebraska initiative was approved, and Montana’s initiative, which included a tobacco tax increase, was defeated.

Four other initiatives have been filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State targeting the 2020 ballot. One of the measures was approved for circulation: State Question 805. That measure would prohibit a convicted person’s former felony convictions from being used to “enhance the statutorily allowable base range of punishment, including but not limited to minimum and maximum terms” and would provide for sentence modifications for eligible persons. Signatures for the measure are due by March 26, 2020. The other potential initiatives concern marijuana legalization and an independent redistricting commission.

A total of 80 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Oklahoma from 1996 to 2018, 77.5% (62 of 80) of the measures were approved, and 22.5% (18 of 80) were defeated. Between 1996 and 2018, an average of seven measures appeared on the ballot each even-numbered year in Oklahoma.

Click here to learn more.

Additional Reading:
Oklahoma State Question 802, Medicaid Expansion Initiative (2020)



Mississippi to vote on medical marijuana in 2020

The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Amendment has officially qualified for the ballot and was filed with the Mississippi State Legislature on January 7, the first day of the 2020 legislative session. The legislature must act on the measure within four months. The measure will appear on the 2020 ballot regardless of whether the state legislature adopts, rejects, or ignores the measure. The legislature may also choose to approve an amended or alternative version of the measure. In this case, both the original and legislative alternative versions would appear on the ballot together, giving voters the choice to reject both measures or approve one. For approval, an initiative in Mississippi must receive a majority of the total votes cast for that particular initiative and must also receive more than 40% of the total votes cast in that election.

The amendment would establish a medical marijuana program in Mississippi for individuals with a debilitating medical condition (as defined). Medical marijuana could be recommended for patients with at least one of the more than 20 qualifying conditions under the measure including cancer, epilepsy or seizures, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, HIV, and more. Patients could possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at one time. The Mississippi Department of Health would be charged with implementing the provisions of the amendment and issuing rules and regulations for the program.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care is sponsoring the amendment. Proponents of the measure submitted more than 214,000 signatures in September, of which, 105,686 were found to be valid. To qualify for the ballot, 86,185 valid signatures were required. According to the most recent available reports, which covered through November 30, 2019, the Mississippians for Compassionate Care committee had raised $2,037,489 and had spent $2,099,967.

The amendment was proposed in July 2018 by Ashley Durval, the mother of Harper Grace Durval. In 2014, the Mississippi Legislature passed Harper Grace’s Law, which removed marijuana extract oil (CBD oil) from Mississippi’s list of controlled substances and allowed its prescription for medicinal applications. Harper Grace Durval has Davet Syndrome, a type of epilepsy that causes seizures.

Mississippi State Department of Health communications director Liz Sharlot said, “the Mississippi State Board of Health is not supportive of the legalization of the Medical Marijuana amendment. It is not FDA approved, it is illegal, and has not undergone a rigorous medical review. Currently, there are no statutes on the book, so we are watching the events as they unfold.”

As of 2019, 33 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.

Also set to appear on the 2020 ballot is a recreational marijuana legalization amendment in New Jersey that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. In November, South Dakota will become the first state to vote on separate measures that would legalize recreational marijuana and establish a medical marijuana program at the same election.

Measures concerning medical marijuana have been proposed targeting the 2020 ballot in Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska. Measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use have been proposed targeting the 2020 ballot in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

A total of 14 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Mississippi from 1995 to 2018. Seven of the measures were approved and six were defeated. One measure was not formatted as a yes or no question; rather, the measure asked voters to select a preferred flag for the state of Mississippi.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Mississippi 2020 ballot measures
2020 ballot measures
Marijuana on the ballot



No signatures submitted for Washington Initiatives to the Legislature by Jan 3 deadline

The deadline to submit signatures for Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington (ITL) was January 3, 2020. 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 104 filed initiatives. If proponents of any of the initiatives had submitted 259,622 valid signatures by January 3, those initiatives would have been sent to the Washington State Legislature during its 2020 session, set to begin on January 13.

The legislature would have then needed to take 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.

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.

January 3 was also the first day to file Initiatives to the People (ITP) in Washington. For Initiatives to the People—which are direct initiatives in Washington—a total of 259,622 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot. The last day to submit signatures for ITPs is July 2, 2020. As of January 6, 2020, 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. During the 20-year period from 1999 to 2019, 49 Initiatives to the People were on the ballot, of which, 32 were approved and 17 were defeated.

Washington state ballot measures, quick facts:

  1. A total of 121 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Washington through all years (even and odd) from the 20-year period between 1999 and 2019.
  2. From 1999 to 2019, the number of measures on the statewide ballot ranged from two to 15.
  3. Between 1999 and 2019, 57% (69) of the total number of measures that appeared on the statewide ballot were approved, and 43% (52) were defeated.
  4. Between 1999 and 2019, an average of six measures appeared on the ballot in Washington each year.

Click here to learn more.

Additional Reading:
Initiatives to the Legislature (Washington)
Initiatives to the People (Washington)



Gray wolf reintroduction measure is the fourth measure to be certified for the 2020 ballot in Colorado

The office of the Colorado Secretary of State announced on January 6 that the Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative had qualified for the ballot. Proponents submitted 215,370 signatures on December 10, 2019. The office found through a random sample that 65% (around 139,333 signatures) were valid. To qualify for the ballot, 124,632 valid signatures were required.

The measure would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves on designated lands in the western part of Colorado by the end of 2023.

The gray wolf, Canis lupus, was classified as a federally endangered species in 1978 (except in Minnesota, where it was classified as threatened). The gray wolf was removed from the endangered lists in Idaho and Montana in 2011. Idaho and Montana began wolf reintroduction programs in 1995.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund (RMWAF) is leading the campaign in support of the initiative. According to campaign finance reports that covered through September 30, RMWAF had raised about $797,000 in cash and $100,000 in in-kind contributions. Speaking about why they believe gray wolves should be reintroduced in Colorado, RMWAF wrote, “Since the 1940s, when Colorado’s last wolf was killed, our ecosystem has suffered. A lack of natural balance means that too many elk and deer eat away the vegetation that holds streams and rivers back, leading to erosion and the disruption of even more habitats, like those for native beavers and songbirds. Wolves also naturally limit the spread of disease, such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), by taking vulnerable animals out of the population.”

Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition is leading the campaign against the measure. The group has not yet reported campaign finance activity. The Colorado Farm Bureau is also opposed to the measure. CFB Vice President of Advocacy Shawn Martini said, “We remain skeptical that you can introduce wolves into Colorado and not create significant problems. Not only to our way of life here in the state which is based on outdoor recreations but also on livestock production in the western part of the state and to the ecosystem. Colorado is home to a number of endangered species that could be potentially be preyed upon by an apex predatory like the Canadian gray wolf. So we’re skeptical that these kinds of decisions should be put in the hands of voters through a ballot initiative.”

Three other measures are currently certified for the 2020 ballot in Colorado: a citizen-initiated veto referendum to decide whether or not Colorado will join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact; a citizen-initiated amendment to state in the constitution that only U.S. citizens may vote in Colorado; and a transportation bond issue referred to the ballot by the state legislature.

Proponents are gathering signatures for another initiative in Colorado that would ban abortions after 22 weeks gestational age. Signatures for the measure are due on March 4, 2020.

A total of 108 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Colorado from 1999 through 2019. In that time, 42% (45 of 108) of the total number of measures that appeared on the statewide ballot were approved, and 58% (63 of 108) were defeated.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Colorado 2020 ballot measures



South Dakota to vote on two marijuana initiatives in November

On January 6, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office announced that an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana had qualified for the ballot. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws reported submitting more than 50,000 signatures in November, of which 36,707 were deemed valid. To qualify, 16,961 signatures were required.

The measure would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It would also require the legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. Under the measure, a 15% tax would be imposed on marijuana sales. Individuals would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.

The attorney general’s explanation stated that “judicial clarification of the amendment may be necessary.”

Last month, a separate measure to create a medical marijuana program was certified for the ballot. Initiated Measure 26, sponsored by New Approach South Dakota, would establish a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals who have a debilitating medical condition (defined) as certified by a physician.

As of 2019, 11 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

As of 2019, 33 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.

Also set to appear on the 2020 ballot is a marijuana legalization amendment in New Jersey that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. Measures concerning medical marijuana targeting the 2020 ballot have been proposed in Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska. Measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use have been proposed targeting the 2020 ballot in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

From 1996 through 2018, a total of 74 measures have appeared on the ballot during even-numbered election years in South Dakota. Of those, 39% were approved and 61% were defeated.

Click here to learn more.

Learn more:
South Dakota Initiated Measure 26, Medical Marijuana Initiative (2020)
South Dakotas 2020 ballot measures
Marijuana on the ballot



Signatures for Florida 2020 initiatives must be certified by February 1st

February 1 is the deadline for initiative petition signatures to be certified by the Florida Secretary of State to qualify initiated constitutional amendments for the 2020 ballot. Since state law gives local elections officials 30 days to verify signatures, petitioners needed to submit signatures on or before January 2, 2020, to guarantee that an initiative would qualify for the 2020 ballot.

766,200 valid signatures are required to qualify. This number is based on a percentage (8%) of ballots cast in the last presidential election, which in 2016 was 9,577,333.

Three citizen initiated measures have qualified for the ballot:

  • Amendment 1, sponsored by Florida Citizen Voters, would specify that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections.
  • Amendment 2, sponsored by Florida For A Fair Wage, would increase the state’s minimum wage incrementally to $15 by 2026.
  • Amendment 3, sponsored by All Voters Vote, Inc., would establish a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections.

Sponsors of four other initiatives submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for a ballot language review by the state supreme court. Those initiatives and how many valid signatures had been verified as of January 2, 2020, are as follows:

  • Initiative #18-10, Changes to Energy Market Initiative: 623,079 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-01, Ban on Semiautomatic Rifles and Shotguns Initiative: 130,232 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-08, Double Election Requirement for Constitutional Amendments Initiative: 526,469 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-11, Marijuana Legalization Initiative: 228,308 valid signatures.

Proponents of Initiative #19-11, Make it Legal Florida, filed a lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and other elections officials on December 31, 2019, requesting the court to order the Secretary of State to accept signature petitions submitted by February 1, 2020. The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of Florida House Bill 5, passed by the Florida Legislature in 2019. Florida HB 5 required paid petition circulators to register with the secretary of state and provide information such as his or her name, address, date of birth, and a circulator affidavit; banned paying petitioners based on the number of signatures collected (pay-per-signature); and enacted other rules concerning statewide initiative petitions and local measures. Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, said, “Our request is that Florida’s Secretary of State, who has worked hard to ensure processes and rules are followed to the letter, count every signed petition submitted by January 31 toward the 2020 ballot, regardless of when it’s validated.”

Ninety-one measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Florida between 1996 and 2018, of which, 75.82% (69 of 91) were approved by voters and 24.18% (22 of 91) were defeated.

Click here to learn more.

Additional Reading:
Florida 2020 ballot measures
Florida Marijuana Legalization and Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Sales Initiative (2020)



South Dakota to vote on medical marijuana in 2020

On December 19, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office announced that New Approach South Dakota’s initiative to establish a medical marijuana program had qualified for the ballot. The group reported submitting more than 30,000 signatures in November, of which 25,524 were deemed valid. To qualify, 16,961 signatures were required.

The measure would establish a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals who have a debilitating medical condition and are certified by a physician. Under the measure, a debilitating medical condition means, “A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.” The measure provides that the Department of Health could add additional qualifying conditions.

Medical marijuana patients would be able to possess three ounces of marijuana as well as additional amounts of other types of marijuana products. Patients would be able to possess three marijuana plants and products made from the plants.

The attorney general’s explanation stated, “The 95-section measure contains numerous other provisions not described here. It will likely require judicial or legislative clarification.”

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, a group sponsoring a separate measure to legalize recreational marijuana, reported submitting more than 50,000 signatures on November 4, 2019, and are awaiting validation from the Secretary of State. That measure was designed to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It would also require the legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. In South Dakota, if there are two conflicting ballot measures on the same ballot, and both are approved, the one that receives the most yes votes supersedes the other in areas of conflict.

As of 2019, 33 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes. As of 2019, 11 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Also set to appear on the 2020 ballot is a marijuana legalization amendment in New Jersey that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. The New Jersey constitutional amendment is the first marijuana legalization measure that a state legislature has referred to voters. In Illinois and Vermont, the state legislatures passed bills to legalize marijuana without ballot measures. The other nine states (and D.C.) that have legalized marijuana did so through the ballot initiative process, in which proponents collected signatures to place their issues before voters. There is no initiative process in New Jersey.

Measures concerning medical marijuana targeting the 2020 ballot have been proposed in Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska. Measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use have been proposed targeting the 2020 ballot in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

From 1996 through 2018, a total of 74 measures have appeared on the ballot during even-numbered election years in South Dakota, of which, 39% were approved and 61% were defeated.

Click here to learn more.



Two referendums filed this week challenging tax bill passed by Utah Legislature in special session

Two different referendum petitions were filed this week targeting the repeal of Utah Senate Bill 2001, which was passed by the Utah Legislature in a special session on December 12, 2019. The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard of District 25, passed in the Senate by a vote of 20-7 with two senators absent or not voting and passed with amendments in the House by a vote of 43-27 with five representatives absent or not voting. The Senate concurred with the House’s amendments and passed the bill in a vote of 19-7 with three senators absent or not voting. Utah has a Republican state government trifecta.

Among other things, SB 2001 was designed to make the following changes:
1. decrease the individual income tax rate;
2. decrease the corporate franchise tax and corporate income tax rate;
3. changes how the personal exemption tax credit is calculated;
4. creates a nonrefundable tax credit for social security benefits;
5. increases the sales tax on food and food ingredients;
6. creates a refundable grocery tax credit;
7. creates a sales tax exemption for menstrual products; and
8. creates a tax on gasoline (motor fuel) and special fuels, adds a new tax on diesel fuel.

A veto referendum is a type of citizen-initiated ballot measure that asks voters whether to uphold or repeal a law passed by the state legislature. The veto referendum ballot measure is also known as a popular referendum, people’s veto, or citizen’s veto. There are 23 states that have a process for veto referendums.

One of the referendum petitions was filed on December 16, 2019, by individuals including former state representative Fred Cox (R), Utahns Against Hunger executive director Gina Cornia, and Utah Justice Coalition executive director Darcy Van Orden. Sponsors of the effort indicated they would not use paid signature gatherers. Cox said the sales tax increase on food and the new gasoline tax created by the bill is a combination that is “going to hit people very hard.”

A second referendum was filed on December 17, 2019, by The People’s Right, which stated it would use paid signature gatherers. Steve Maxfield, chair of The People’s Right, wrote, “[Sponsors of] the previous application will not use paid signature gatherers in order to obtain the well over 100,000 valid signatures, even if they can [obtain the signatures], they will not be able to stop the special interests [from] knocking off at least one of the 15 counties required. … With that stark reality, TPR is forced to file its own competing referendum with the stated intent to use paid signature gatherers.”

To qualify for the 2020 ballot, 115,869 valid signatures are required. For referendum petitions, signatures must be collected from each of at least 15 of the 29 counties in Utah equal to 8% of active voters. Signatures for veto referendums must be submitted on a 14-day rolling basis and must all be submitted within 40 days of the adjournment of the legislative session at which the targeted bill was passed.

Signatures for the referendums are due on January 21, 2020, 40 days after the second special session ended on December 12, 2019.

Utah is the only state where voters have repealed every law put before them through the veto referendum process. Since 1954, there have been four veto referendums on the ballot in Utah, all of which were rejected by voters. The most recent was in 2007 when voters rejected a school voucher program.

There are currently four constitutional amendments certified to appear on the statewide ballot in Utah in November 2020, all of which were referred to the ballot by the state legislature.

Click here to learn more.

 

Additional Reading:

Utah 2020 Ballot Measures

List of Veto Referendum Ballot Measures



Second recount for $569 million Midland Independent School District bond happening this week

On November 5, 2019, Midland Independent School District voters in Midland County, Texas, voted on a $569 million bond to build new facilities and improve existing schools. According to the first count of votes, the measure had failed by 25 votes, triggering a manual recount of paper ballots, which flipped the results to show the measure had passed by 11 votes.

 

Last week, a box with 836 uncounted paper ballots was found at the Midland County Elections office. On Monday, Midland County officials opened the box to begin a second recount. Bond supporters We Choose Our Future and opponents Better Bond for Midland filed to contest the election results.

 

Because the results of the first recount were already canvassed (made official) by County Judge Terry Johnson, it is unclear whether or not the second recount will change the outcome.

 

The Texas Secretary of State is advising Midland County officials as the situation proceeds.

The Midland Independent School District in Texas had over 25,000 students as of the 2017-2018 school year and had spent about $11,000 per student per year according to data from 2015-2016, 86% of which came from local revenue sources.

 

The district put 38 bond issues on the ballot between 1947 and 2012. A total of 31 were passed by voters. The bonds were used for new schools, renovations and additions to older buildings, maintenance projects, new technological infrastructure, and new athletic facilities.
Between 1947 and 1974, every bond for the district was successful. Then, in 1979, the district’s $10.2 million bond for Midland and Lee High Schools failed to pass with 61.98% of voters casting ballots against the measure. From 1980 to 2012, a total of 18 bonds have appeared on the ballot, of which 12 were approved and six were defeated. The highest percent of votes cast in favor of a measure was 68.32% for the 1982 bond worth $9,475,000.

Click here to learn more.

 



Bitnami