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Nicole Fisher

Nicole Fisher is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Abortion rights initiative certified for the Michigan ballot

On Sept. 8, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that an initiative to create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other pregnancy-related matters,must be added to the November ballot. The initiative was officially certified by the Board of State Canvassers on Sept. 9 and will appear on the ballot as Proposal 3.

If approved by voters, Proposal 3 would create a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in November. The term reproductive freedom would be defined to include “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” Proposal 3 would also provide that the state can regulate abortion after fetal viability, except that the state could not ban abortions to “protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual,” as determined by an attending health care professional.

On July 11, the campaign Reproductive Freedom for All submitted 753,759 signatures to qualify Proposal 3 for the ballot. The measure needed 425,059 valid signatures to qualify. A month later, on Aug. 26, the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections announced that 596,379 signatures were projected as valid.

The campaign opposing the initiative, Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, filed a challenge in August against the petition. In the challenge, the campaign argued that the lack of appropriate spacing between certain words within the initiative would “seek to insert non-existent words into the Michigan Constitution.” The Supreme Court rejected the challenge, saying that “regardless of the existence or extent of the spacing, all of the words remain and they remain in the same order, and it is not disputed that they are printed in 8-point type.”

Proposal 3 will join two other measures certified for the Michigan ballot in November. The measures certified for the Michigan ballot are:

  • Proposal 1, which would change the term limits requirement for state legislators and financial disclosure requirements for state executive and legislative officials
  • Proposal 2, which would make changes to voting policies, including dropboxes, photo ID or signed legal documents, early voting, and absentee voting
  • Proposal 3, which would create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other pregnancy-related matters.

In 2022, there are six total ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record. Following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, measures have been certified in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont. In Aug., voters in Kansas rejected a constitutional amendment that would have stated that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion. The five other measures will be on the ballot this November, including in Michigan.

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Voting policy amendment certified for the Nov. ballot in Michigan

On Sep. 9, 2022, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified a citizen-initiated measure to amend voting policies for the election on Nov. 8. The initiative will appear on the ballot as Proposal 2.

The certification came after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Proposal 2. Attorneys for the Defend Your Vote group, which opposes the initiative, filed a challenge against the initiative campaign in August. The challenge said that the initiative “fails to strictly adhere, as required, to the form required by the Michigan Constitution and state statute” and that it does not identify all the provisions of the Michigan Constitution it would abrogate. 

On Sept. 8, the Supreme Court sided with the initiative campaign and ordered the Board of State Canvassers to certify the measure for the election on Nov. 8, 2022.

The Promote the Vote 2022 campaign submitted 669,972 signatures on July 11, 2022, in order to qualify the measure for the ballot. The campaign needed 425,059 valid signatures in order to qualify the measure. On Aug. 25, the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections reported that the measure submitted an estimate of 507,780 valid signatures.

If approved by voters this November, the measure would:

  • amend the Michigan Constitution to provide voters with a right to vote without harassment, interference, or intimidation;
  • require military or overseas ballots to be counted if postmarked by election day;
  • allow for a signed affidavit, as an alternative to the existing photo ID requirement, to vote;
  • provide voters with a right to use a single application to vote absentee in all elections;
  • require state-funded postage for absentee applications and ballots;
  • require one state-funded absentee ballot drop box for every municipality or one drop box per 15,000 registered voters in larger municipalities;
  • provide that only election officials may conduct post-election audits;
  • require nine days of early in-person voting;
  • allow publicly-disclosed charitable donations and in-kind contributions to fund elections; and
  • require canvas boards to certify election results based only on the official records of votes cast.

Proposal 2 will join two other measures certified for the Michigan ballot in November. The measures certified for the Michigan ballot are:

  • Proposal 1, which would change the term limits requirement for state legislators and financial disclosure requirements for state executive and legislative officials
  • Proposal 2, which would make changes to voting policies, including dropboxes, photo ID or signed legal documents, early voting, and absentee voting
  • Proposal 3, which would create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other matters related to pregnancy.

Additional reading:



Arizona campaign finance initiative certified for the November ballot

This November, Arizonans will decide on a ballot initiative that would require donors to political campaigns to disclose the original source of the money, if the donation goes above a certain threshold. There are ten statewide ballot measures on the Arizona ballot.

The campaign finance initiative, if approved by voters, would require that anyone making independent expenditures of more than $50,000 on a statewide campaign or $25,000 on a local campaign disclose the names of the money’s original sources. The original source would be defined as the person or business who earned the money that was contributed, either through personal funds, business income, or any other form of income.

Certification of the initiative followed a legal challenge before the Arizona Supreme Court. The legal challenge dealt with the affidavit requirements of signature gatherers, as well as whether or not the petitioner’s registration must include the full address, including the unit number of an apartment or hotel. On Aug. 25, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected the arguments cited in the lawsuit.

Two other Arizona citizen initiatives were also subject to legal challenges. While one initiative to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services was certified for the ballot last week, an elections and voting policies initiative was removed from the ballot.

To qualify for the ballot, proponents needed to collect at least 237,645 valid signatures. Signatures were verified through a random sampling process. On July 7, the Voter’s Right to Know campaign submitted 393,490 signatures. On Aug. 26, the secretary of state found that a projected 285,144 signatures were valid after county review.

There are nine other certified measures on the ballot in Arizona. They are:

  • Proposition 308 would allow in-state tuition for certain non-citizen residents
  • Proposition 309 would require date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminate the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • Proposition 310 would create a sales tax to fund Arizona’s fire districts
  • Proposition 128 would allow the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court
  • Proposition 129 would require citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  • Proposition 130 would allow the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications rather than determining details in the constitution
  • Proposition 131 would create the office of lieutenant governor
  • Proposition 132 would require a three-fifths supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives and legislatively referred amendments that would approve taxes
  • An initiative to limit interest rates for debt from healthcare services and increase the value of certain property and earnings exempt from debt collections processes

Additional reading:



Initiative to change election and voting policies certified for Arizona ballot

Arizonans will decide on a ballot initiative that would change multiple state election and voting policies, including policies related to early voting, automatic and same-day voter registration, campaign contribution limits, and other policy areas. The proposal is the second citizen-initiated measure certified for the ballot in Arizona for November. There are now a total of ten measures on the ballot in Arizona for the general election on Nov. 8.

The election and voting policies initiative was certified for the ballot after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Frank Moskowitz rejected about 75,000 signatures after reviewing challenges to supporters’ signature drive, including registrations, paperwork, and eligibility of paid circulators. The initiative qualified for the ballot with 298,878 signatures found valid after county review.

In order to qualify for the ballot, signature petitioners needed to collect at least 237,645 valid signatures. Signatures were verified through a random sampling process. On July 7, the Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections campaign submitted 475,290 signatures to the secretary of state.

The measure would make multiple changes to the election and voting process in state elections in Arizona.

  • It would make changes to early voting policy, including automatically sending an early ballot to any voter on the early voting list
  • It would repeal provisions that remove voters from the early voting list if they do not vote using an early ballot in all eligible elections for two consecutive election cycles and do not reply to a notice sent by election officials.
  • The initiative would repeal the existing law that makes it a felony to collect another person’s ballot, and instead make it a felony to collect a ballot and intentionally fail to deliver it.
  • It would also establish same-day voter registration, authorize the funding of dropboxes, and change campaign contribution limits.

The initiative would state that people with disabilities have a right to vote with or without assistance, including while sitting in the car, by mail, or by phone (if the secretary of state reviews and approves vote-by-phone technology). It would require that any court order placing a person under guardianship cannot incapacitate that person regarding their ability to vote. It would also require election officials to communicate with tribes or tribal representatives regarding the conduct of elections.

Currently, there are nine other certified measures on the ballot in Arizona. They are:

  • Proposition 308 would allow in-state tuition for certain non-citizen residents
  • Proposition 309 would require date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminate the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • Proposition 310 would create a sales tax to fund Arizona’s fire districts
  • Proposition 182 would allow the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court
  • Proposition 129 would require citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  • Proposition 130 would allow the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications rather than determining details in the constitution
  • Proposition 131 would create the office of lieutenant governor
  • Proposition 132 would require a three-fifths supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives and legislatively referred amendments that would approve taxes
  • An initiated state statute to limit interest rates for debt from healthcare services and increase the value of certain property and earnings exempt from debt collections processes

Additional reading:



Initiative to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services certified for Arizona ballot

Arizonans will decide on a ballot initiative designed to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services. The proposal is the first initiative certified for the ballot in Arizona for November and the first of three initiatives with signatures under review to be certified. There are also eight legislative referrals on the ballot in Arizona.

Certification of the ballot initiative came after legal challenges were rejected by a judge. On August 17, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Frank Moskowitz rejected a legal challenge to the measure saying that paid petition circulators were improperly registered with the secretary of state’s office.

If approved by voters, the measure would set limits on interest rates for debt accumulated from receiving healthcare services equal to either the weekly average one-year constant maturity treasury yield or 3%, whichever is less. It would increase the amount of homestead exempt from debt collection from $150,000 to $400,000. It would also increase the amount of value of household furnishings, motor vehicles, bank account funds, and disposable earnings exempt from debt collection processes.

In order to qualify for the ballot, signature petitioners needed to collect at least 237,645 valid signatures. Signatures were verified through a random sampling process. On July 7, the Arizonans Fed Up with Failing Healthcare campaign submitted 472,296 signatures to the secretary of state. Out of these signatures, 333,958 signatures are projected to be valid.

Currently, there are eight other certified measures on the ballot in Arizona. They are:

  1. Proposition 308, which would allow in-state tuition for certain non-citizen residents
  2. Proposition 309, which would require date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminate the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  3. Proposition 310, which would create a sales tax to fund Arizona’s fire districts
  4. Proposition 182, which would allow the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court
  5. Proposition 129, which would require citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  6. Proposition 130, which would allow the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications rather than determining details in the constitution
  7. Proposition 131, which would create the office of lieutenant governor
  8. Proposition 132, which would require a three-fifths supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives and legislatively referred amendments that would approve taxes

    Additional reading:



Signatures submitted for education scholarship tax credit initiative in Michigan

The Let MI Kids Learn campaign submitted signatures on Aug. 10 for a tax credit educational scholarship program in Michigan.

The initiative, if approved, would provide for income tax credits for contributions to organizations for the granting of Student Opportunity Scholarships. A companion initiative, also supported by the Let MI Kids Learn campaign, would create the program for Student Opportunity Scholarships. A Student Opportunity Scholarship would be a grant for certain eligible students that meet income or disability requirements, or children who are in foster care. The grant can be used for tuition, textbooks, school uniforms, and other educational expenses, including for nonpublic education. The Let MI Kids Learn campaign did not submit signatures yet for this companion initiative, but a spokesperson of the Let MI Kids Learn campaign, Amy Hawkins, says that the signatures for the companion initiative are coming soon.

“After school shutdowns and COVID learning loss, families are desperate for the change that this proposal brings to Michigan education,” said Fred Wszolek, a spokesperson for the Let MI Kids Learn campaign. “Michigan families will soon have more educational choices for their children than anywhere in America, and that’s good news for the future of our state.”

The Let MI Kids Learn campaign submitted 520,598 signatures to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. To place an initiative on the ballot in Michigan, 340,047 valid signatures are required. However, the deadline for submitting signatures to qualify for the November 2022 ballot was on June 1, so the initiative would not qualify for the 2022 general election, but for the 2024 general election. This would occur if the measure is not approved by the legislature first.

Out of the twenty-one states that allow initiated state statutes, nine states, including Michigan, use an indirect process for initiated statutes. This means that after a campaign submits signatures and has the signatures verified, the initiative goes to the state legislature. The state legislature then has 40 days to adopt or reject the initiative. In Michigan, if the legislature approves of the initiative, the governor does not have the power to veto it. If the legislature rejects the initiative, it goes on the ballot for voters to decide.

A spokesperson for the For MI Kids, For Our Schools campaign, which is leading the opposition to this measure, said that this initiative would take funding away from public schools. 

“Our local schools are struggling with an educator shortage and a lack of mental health resources for our kids,” said Casandra Ulbrich, “This voucher proposal will only make the situation worse by taking away hundreds of millions of dollars every year from our local schools and giving the funding to for-profit private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers.”

The initiative will wait for the signature verification process by the Bureau of Elections. If there are at least 340,047 valid signatures, the measure will go to the Michigan State Legislature for consideration. 

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Ranked-choice voting initiative will not appear on the ballot in Missouri

On August 9, Secretary of State John Ashcroft (R) announced that a top-four ranked-choice voting initiative will not make the Missouri general election ballot due to an insufficient number of valid signatures submitted.

The campaign behind the citizen initiative, Better Elections, needed to submit at least 171,592 valid signatures in order to qualify the initiative for the ballot. To receive a Certificate of Sufficiency, a minimum number of valid signatures must be obtained in six of the eight congressional districts in Missouri. Missouri is one of sixteen states with a signature distribution requirement for citizen-initiated measures, and of those sixteen, Missouri is one of five states where the distribution requirement is based on congressional districts.

In the tabulated results put out by Secretary Ashcroft’s office, the initiative did not meet the valid signature requirement in any of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

Another citizen initiative, a measure that would legalize marijuana in Missouri, did pass the verification process and will appear on the ballot in November.

Scott Charton, a spokesman for the Better Elections campaign, said the campaign will “remain committed to our core mission: giving voters better and more choices in elections, empowering them to hold politicians accountable when they lose their way, and ensuring integrity in elections.”

The initiative would have changed the electoral system in Missouri for electing state executive, state legislative, and congressional officials. It would have replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries, and would have established ranked-choice voting for general elections, in which voters could rank the four candidates that succeeded from the primaries. The system would have been similar to Alaska’s, where voters approved an initiative in 2020. In addition to Alaska, Maine also allows ranked-choice voting in federal elections and certain statewide primaries, and Hawaii has also enacted that ranked-choice voting for federal special elections would take place starting in 2023.

Ranked-choice voting will also appear on the ballot in another state this year–Nevada has put a top-five ranked choice voting initiative on the ballot.

Currently, there are five measures on the ballot in Missouri: three legislatively referred constitutional amendments, one citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, and one constitutional convention question.

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Marijuana legalization initiative certified for the ballot in Missouri

On Aug. 9, 2022, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) announced that a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Missouri qualified for the November 8 general election ballot.

The citizen-initiated ballot measure, led by the Legal Missouri 2022 campaign, needed 171,592 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Legal Missouri 2022 submitted more than 385,000 signatures in May. Secretary Ashcroft certified that a sufficient number of verified signatures were submitted to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

If voters approve of the initiative in November, the measure would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri for adults over the age of 21. It would also allow personal cultivation of marijuana with prescribed limits and regulations, impose a six percent tax on the retail price of marijuana, and allow people with a record of certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and to have their records expunged. It would also establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates, and distribute licenses within each congressional district.

While medicinal marijuana is legal for those with a medical ID card in Missouri, recreational marijuana is illegal.

John Payne, the campaign manager of Legal Missouri 2022, said, “We look forward to engaging with voters across the state in the coming weeks and months. Missourians are more than ready to end the senseless and costly prohibition of marijuana.”

Supporters of the initiative include the ACLU of Missouri, the NAACP of St. Louis City, and NORML of Kansas City. “Cannabis reform is about more than establishing a safe and legal market,” said Jamie Kacz, the executive director of NORML KC, “It is about righting the many wrongs prohibition has caused to our communities, especially communities of color.”

Christina Thompson, with ShowMe Canna-Freedom, is critical of the regulations regarding commercial licenses. Thompson said, “This initiative eliminates nearly all competition through constitutionally protected license caps. Recreational licenses created under the initiative will go straight to established businesses as well, meaning instead of opening up more business opportunities for others, money only goes to those who are already profiting.”

The Missouri initiative joins two other marijuana legalization ballot measures that will appear on the ballot in the November general election–a constitutional amendment in Maryland, and an initiated state statute in South Dakota.

There are now five certified measures on the Missouri ballot for November 2022.

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Alaska governor signs bill to formally recognize federally recognized American Indian tribes

On July 28, 2022, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) signed House Bill 123 (HB 123) into law, which would formally recognize 229 federally recognized American Indian tribes in Alaska. The bill was approved by the state legislature on May 17, 2022, before going to the governor’s desk.

“House Bill 123 codifies in law what Alaskans have long recognized: the important role that Native Tribes play in our past, present, and future,” said Gov. Dunleavy in a statement.

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-38), who sponsored the bill, called this action long overdue. “While the inherent sovereignty of Alaska Tribes has been consistently affirmed in Federal policy, in rulings by the Supreme Court, and by Executive Order in 2018, the signing of House Bill 123 provides formal recognition in statute for the first time in our State’s history,” she said.

HB 123 adds a section to Alaska state statute that recognizes federally recognized tribes. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, a federally recognized tribe is “an American Indian or Alaska Native tribal entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”

Initially, the move for the state to recognize American Indian tribes in Alaska came from a ballot initiative that was intended to be placed on the 2022 ballot. The initiative was filed by Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake, Chaa yaa eesh Richard Peterson, and La quen náay Liz on August 11, 2021. The Alaskans for Better Government PAC was registered in support of the measure. 

“With a respectful partnership we’ll have more ways to enhance the lives of Alaskans by streamlining services; partnering to amplify federal and state funding for deep, sustainable, and long-term impact; and tapping in to the 10,000 plus years of Indigenous brilliance, diversity, and knowledge of our Native homelands that so many now call home,” the Alaskans for Better Government campaign said, “The basis of any good relationship is respect, and too often when sovereign governments cannot work together our Tribal peoples disproportionately bear the price of injustice, diminishing equity, liberty, and freedoms for all.”

In Alaska, the initiative process for state statutes is indirect. This means that rather than a campaign submitting signatures to put the initiative directly on the ballot the initiative first goes to the state legislature. The state legislature then has a chance to approve or reject the measure. If the state legislature rejects the measure, the measure goes to the ballot for voters to decide. If the state legislature approves the measure, it goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

The Alaskans for Better Government campaign submitted 56,200 signatures on January 13, 2022. Of that total, 47,199 signatures were found to be valid on March 3, 2022. The number of required signatures to send the initiative to the state legislature was 36,140.

In 2021, several legislators introduced House Bill 123, which Alaskans for Better Government described as “functionally identical and… written to serve the same purpose” as the ballot initiative. Instead of considering the initiative, the state legislature approved HB 123 in May.

Since the measure was passed by the state legislature, it will not appear on the ballot but instead will go into effect immediately.

Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka called this formal recognition a ‘historic step’. 

“The cultural survival of our Indigenous people is dependent on our ability to maintain our values, practice our traditions, and maintain freedom to live our lives well with dignity and respect for each other,” she said. “We have strengthened our tribal governments and have initiated multiple efforts to continue our path to self-determination and self-governance. The formal recognition through this legislation is an historic step for us to have a successful relationship with the state.”

Additional reading:

Alaska 2022 ballot measures



Signatures submitted for $15 minimum wage ballot initiative in Michigan

On July 26, 2022, the One Fair Wage campaign announced that it submitted more than 610,000 signatures to qualify a $15 minimum wage initiative for the Michigan ballot in 2024.

The proposal is an indirect initiative, meaning, if enough signatures are verified, it goes to the state legislature first for consideration before being placed on the ballot. If the legislature approves the measure, it is enacted into law, but if the legislature does not approve of the measure, it goes to the ballot for voters to decide.

If approved by the legislature or voters, the initiative would increase the state minimum wage incrementally by a dollar every year, over the course of five years, until it reaches $15. The state’s current minimum wage is $9.87 per hour. The initiative would also phase out the lower-than-minimum wage for tipped, disabled, and underage workers, and would increase regardless of the unemployment rate.

“This is going to help hundreds of thousands of Michiganders get a raise that’s much needed,” said One Fair Wage co-organizing director Maricela Gutierrez.

The signature submission follows a recent ruling by a Michigan judge regarding two 2018 citizen-initiated laws, including one that would raise the minimum wage to $12 incrementally by 2022. Rather than having the measures go to the ballot, the state legislature voted to approve them, but later amended the minimum wage measure to increase the wage to $12 by 2030, changing the timeline for the wage increase. The amended version was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder (R). Michigan One Fair Wage and Michigan Time to Care — the campaigns behind the two initiatives — sued the state of Michigan. The Michigan Court of Claims struck down these two amended initiatives, ruling that the adopt-and-amend tactic is unconstitutional.

“We’re going to get it back on the ballot,” said State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D), “We saw the court decision. That is a huge move in the right direction but as we saw in the recent Dobbs decision on the federal level, court rulings are also not settled. So that requires all of us getting into it.”

Brian Calley, chief executive officer of the Small Business Association of Michigan, said, “This type of government action is a big part of the reason we are now facing such devastating inflation, which hurts lower-income families the most. We should not make a bad problem worse with this proposal.”

There is currently one minimum wage ballot measure certified for the ballot in 2022. It would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2024 in Nevada.

In Michigan, between 1985 and 2020, 26 citizen-initiated measures have appeared on the ballot. Eight of them (31%) were approved, while 18 of them (69%) were defeated.

Additional reading:

Michigan 2024 ballot measures