Author

Nicole Fisher

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

Arizona voters to decide on sales tax to fund fire districts

The Arizona State Legislature voted to place a measure on the general election ballot to create a 0.1% sales tax, which would be levied from Dec. 31, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2042, that would fund fire districts.

The measure passed the state House on June 22, 2022, by a 34-25 vote. There was some division between party lines, with all 25 ‘no’ votes belonging to Republicans, while 28 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted to approve the measure.

Sen. Paul Boyer (R-20), who sponsored the measure as Senate Concurrent Resolution 1049 (SCR1049), said that the tax would generate $150 million annually for Arizona’s fire districts, and that the fire districts need help.

“Arizona’s 144 fire districts are in the midst of a serious, but largely unknown crisis – a shortage of manpower, equipment and resources our state can and should address to keep residents and visitors safe,” he said in an op-ed to Tucson.com, “SCR 1049 would put on the November ballot the Arizona Fire District Safety Act. Should voters approve it, this measure would create a temporary one-tenth-of-a-penny increase in the state’s sales tax.”

“This increase in funding will take the pressure off fire fighters and paramedics,” he continued, “And help ensure that fire districts have the staffing, equipment, and training necessary to provide fire services along with emergency and medical services to citizens in need throughout the entire state of Arizona.”

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club called the proposed sales tax “unfair and unnecessary.” “If enacted, all Arizona taxpayers would be forced to subsidize 1.5 million other Arizona taxpayers despite already paying taxes for fire and emergency services in their own communities,” the Arizona Free Enterprise Club argued, “This policy is essentially a bailout for fire districts who have recklessly and wastefully spent taxpayer money. Having Arizona’s taxpayers indiscriminately subsidize districts that are not good stewards of taxpayer money is a perverse incentive.”

The general election is on November 8, 2022, and there are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot. The seven others are:

  • The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents.
  • The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • The 60% Supermajority Vote Requirement for Constitutional Amendments and Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which would require a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives (both statutes and constitutional amendments) and legislatively referred amendments
  • The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court.
  • The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
  • The Property Tax Exemptions Amendment, which allows the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications
  • The Create the Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment, which creates the office of Lieutenant Governor

In Arizona, 15 legislatively referred state statutes have been put on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Eleven of them (73%) have been approved by voters, while 4 of them (27%) have been defeated.

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Property tax exemptions amendment to appear on Arizona ballot

On June 22, 2022, the Arizona State Legislature voted to place a constitutional amendment regarding property taxes on the ballot in November.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-17) and Sen. Vince Leach (R-11), would consolidate the property tax provisions within the Arizona Constitution into a single provision, as well as allowing the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications. This includes property tax exemptions for certain individuals, such as widows and widowers, those with disabilities, and disabled veterans, as well as for property used for trade, business, or agriculture.

The amendment would also repeal constitutional language providing for a property tax exemption for honorably discharged veterans. This was ruled unconstitutional in Benjamin v. Arizona Department of Revenue, decided by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The measure was part of a series of pieces of legislation passed by the Arizona State Legislature as they adjourned their session on June 25, 2022.

There are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot this November. The seven others are:

  • The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents
  • The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • The Sales Tax for Fire District Funding Measure, which creates a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund Arizona’s fire districts
  • The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court
  • The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  • The Create the Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment, which creates the office of Lieutenant Governor
  • The 60% Supermajority Vote Requirement for Constitutional Amendments and Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which would require a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives (both statutes and constitutional amendments) and legislatively referred amendments

In Arizona, 73 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Forty-four (60%) of them have been approved, and 29 (40%) of them have been defeated.

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Arizona voters will decide on an amendment to raise the ballot measure vote requirement this November

An amendment that will change the vote threshold requirement to pass ballot measures in Arizona will appear on the ballot this November.

On June 23, 2022, the Arizona State Senate voted 16-12 to put the measure on the ballot. All Republicans voted to pass the amendment, while all Democrats voted against it. The vote was also split down party lines when the Arizona House voted 31-28 to pass the amendment on February 22.

Currently, for a ballot measure to pass in Arizona, a simple majority (50.01%) is required. This amendment would change that requirement to a three-fifths supermajority (60%) for citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments.

The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Tim Dunn (R-13), who said that while the initiative process is valuable, there may be concerns with outside influences on elections. “I think it’s super important we have an initiative process and the ability for voters to have their will done,” Dunn said, “But I wanted to do this bill because we have become a petri dish for outside money to come in and, with a small amount of voters, get something to pass that is very hard to get changed in the future.”

Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-27) said that this measure will make it harder for initiatives to pass. “Make no mistake — it is designed to make it more difficult for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot,” he said. “No matter how it’s spinned, the primary purpose is to make it more difficult for Arizonans to have our voices heard when the legislature chooses not to act on popular policies that the public is asking for.”

Currently, four states require some sort of supermajority vote to approve a ballot measure–Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Florida. This year, Arkansas will also have a similar measure on the ballot that requires a constitutional amendment or ballot initiative to have a 60% vote. Voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C on June 7. Amendment C would have required a 60% vote that increase taxes or fees or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

There are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot this November. The seven others are:

  • The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents.
  • The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • The Sales Tax for Fire District Funding Measure, which creates a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund Arizona’s fire districts.
  • The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court.
  • The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
  • The Property Tax Exemptions Amendment, which allows the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications
  • The Create the Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment, which creates the office of Lieutenant Governor

In Arizona, 73 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Forty-four (60%) of them have been approved, and 29 (40%) of them have been defeated.

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Arizona voters will decide on creating office of lieutenant governor

This November, voters in Arizona will choose whether to create the office of lieutenant governor in the state. A constitutional amendment creating this office will appear on the ballot.

The measure would also have voters elect the governor and lieutenant governor on a joint ticket. If the governor dies or leaves office, the lieutenant governor would take over the role as governor.

Arizona has never had a lieutenant governor – the next in line, in case of an absence, is the secretary of state. However, the governor and secretary of state are elected separately, and can come from different political parties. Currently, Doug Ducey, a Republican, is the governor, and Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is secretary of state.

The amendment was introduced by Sen. Javan Mesnard (R-13) and Sen. Sean Bowie (D-18). The Arizona State Senate voted 21-6 on March 2, 2022 to approve the amendment. The House followed, voting 43-15 to approve it on June 23. The amendment will go on the ballot for the November 8 general election.

There are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot this November. The seven others are:

  • The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents.
  • The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • The Sales Tax for Fire District Funding Measure, which creates a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund Arizona’s fire districts.
  • The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court.
  • The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
  • The Property Tax Exemptions Amendment, which allows the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications rather than determining details in the constitution
  • The 60% Supermajority Vote Requirement for Constitutional Amendments and Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which Requires a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to pass ballot initiatives (both statutes and constitutional amendments) and legislatively referred amendments

In Arizona, 73 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Forty-four (60%) of them have been approved, and 29 (40%) of them have been defeated.

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Initiative to expand Medicaid to appear on South Dakota ballot

On June 9, 2022, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) announced that an initiated state statute to expand Medicaid will appear on the ballot for November 8. The initiative will appear on the ballot as Initiated Measure 28.

This is the third measure to appear on the South Dakota ballot this November, and the second measure that would expand Medicaid.

The campaign supporting the measure, Dakotans for Health, submitted 23,000 signatures on May 3, 2022. In South Dakota, a citizen initiated measure needs 16,961 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. The Secretary of State then verifies the signatures using a random sample method. Based on the random sample, 17,249 signatures were deemed valid.

If enacted, Initiated Measure 28 would expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

Another measure on the South Dakota ballot this November, Constitutional Amendment D, would also expand Medicaid in the same way. However, Constitutional Amendment D would amend the South Dakota Constitution, while Initiated Measure 28 would amend state statute.

Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D), who sponsored the initiative with Dakotans for Health, stated that he would like to see both measures pass.

“My hope is that both of these will pass and it will send a very strong message to the people in power, to our legislature, to the governor,” Weiland said.

Weiland says that he views Initiated Amendment 28 as a backup plan in case Constitutional Amendment D is not successful. 

“I think it’s really important that voters know that they’ve got two paths forward to pass Medicaid expansion this fall,” Weiland said, “A constitutional amendment, now an initiated law, and we’re encouraging them to vote for both.”

There three measures currently set to appear on the South Dakota ballot in November are:

  • Constitutional Amendment D, an amendment to the South Dakota constitution which would require South Dakota to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.
  • Initiated Measure 27, an initiated state statute which would legalize marijuana for people 21 years old and over.
  • Initiated Measure 28, an initiated state statute which would also expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

In South Dakota, 32 citizen-initiated measures have appeared on the ballot between 2000 and 2020. Twelve of them (37.5%) were approved and 20 of them (62.5%) were defeated.

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Amendment C defeated in South Dakota

Amendment C was defeated by South Dakota voters on June 7, 2022.

With 99.7% of precincts reporting, the ‘No’ vote was at 67.43% (122,387), and the ‘Yes’ vote was at 32.57% (59,111), with a total of 163,014 voting on the amendment.

The amendment would have changed the voter requirement threshold for future ballot measures, and may have impacted ballot measures appearing on the South Dakota ballot in November. It could have impacted Constitutional Amendment D, an initiative appearing on the November 2022 ballot that would expand Medicaid in South Dakota.

Currently, in South Dakota, a measure that appears on the ballot needs a simple majority vote (50%+1) to be adopted. Amendment C would have changed this, specifically pertaining to measures that would increase taxes or fees, or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years. Instead of requiring a simple majority from voters, Amendment C would have changed the threshold to a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote.

Amendment C was the only ballot measure that appeared on the June 7 ballot.

Zach Nistler, a spokesperson for South Dakotans for Fair Elections, told KELOLAND News that South Dakota voters came out to keep the majority rule for ballot measures. “South Dakotans are paying attention,” Nistler stated, “South Dakotans are listening and engaged and we trust South Dakotans to make important decisions for our state. That is why over 60% of South Dakotans showed up to oppose Amendment C and protect our majority rule.”

State Rep. Jon Hansen (R-25), the South Dakota representative who sponsored the amendment, told Argus Leader that the amendment failed due to the influence of out-of-state groups. “Unfortunately, Amendment C came up short today because liberal groups who want to tax and spend our money on their own special interest programs poured a million and a half dollars – the majority of that coming from out of state – into false and misleading advertising,” Hansen stated.

Through May 18, South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes, which campaigned for Amendment C, received $905,988, including $836,488 from Americans for Prosperity and $50,000 from the Opportunity Solutions Project. South Dakotans for Fair Elections, which campaigned against Amendment C, received $1.63 million. The largest donors were the National Education Association ($455,960),

The Fairness Project ($367,696), Avera Health ($250,000) and Sanford Health ($250,000)

With the defeat of Amendment C, the Medicaid initiative on the South Dakota ballot in November will only need a simple majority vote to pass.

“Today, the people of South Dakota have preserved their right to use direct democracy,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of The Fairness Project, an organization that campaigned against Amendment C, “This victory will benefit tens of thousands of South Dakotans who will choose to use the ballot measure process to increase access to health care for their families and neighbors, raise wages, and more policies that improve lives. We look forward to what’s next in South Dakota: an aggressive campaign to expand Medicaid in the state.”

In November, voters in at least three other states will decide on legislative proposals to change citizen-initiated ballot measure processes. In Arkansas, electors will vote on a constitutional amendment to increase the vote requirement from a simple majority to 60% for citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments.

Since 1985, voters in South Dakota have approved 26 legislatively referred constitutional amendments. They have now rejected 27.

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Initiative to cap interest rates for payday loans submits signatures for Michigan ballot

On June 1, the campaign Michiganders for Fair Lending submitted signatures for a ballot initiative that would appear on the November ballot.

The initiative would put an annual interest cap of 36% in place for payday loans. Michiganders for Fair Lending argues that the typical payday loan carries a 370% annual rate, and that high interest rates can be financially harmful to Michiganders. According to the Center of Responsible Lending, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, cap annual interest at 36%.

“Payday lenders have been using the lure of quick cash to prey upon vulnerable Michiganders for too long,” said campaign spokesperson Josh Hovey, “These extreme interest rate loans are designed to trap people in an endless cycle of debt, and we’re giving voters a chance this fall to fix this problem.”

Out of the 10 initiative campaigns in Michigan, the Michiganders for Fair Lending campaign was the only one to make the June 1 signature submission deadline.

The campaign stated that out of the 575,000 signatures they collected during the petitioning process, they submitted 405,265 signatures. In Michigan, 340,047 signatures are required in 2022 to qualify an indirect initiated state statute for the ballot. This number is determined by calculating 8% of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election.

The measure is an indirect initiated state statute. Out of the 21 states that allow initiated state statutes, nine states, including Michigan, use an indirect process for citizen-initiated statutes. In Michigan, citizen-initiated statutes that receive enough valid signatures are sent to the Legislature, which then has 40 days to pass the initiative into law. The governor cannot veto indirect initiatives that legislators approve. If the legislature does not approve the initiative, then it appears on the next general election ballot.

The nine other initiative campaigns that did not submit signatures on time may appear on the ballot in the next election cycle.

Currently, there is one other measure on the Michigan ballot—a constitutional amendment referred by the legislature, which would change term limits for state legislators. 

Since 1996, 26 citizen-initiated measures have gone to Michigan voters for approval. Out of the 26, 8 (31%) were approved, and 18 (69%) were defeated.

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A constitutional amendment on bail changes headed to Ohio ballot

On June 1, the Ohio State Senate voted to place a constitutional amendment regarding bail changes on the general election ballot this November. The Senate voted 25-7 for the amendment after it passed the House on May 25, with a vote of 63-33.

The measure, if passed, would change bail policy in Ohio, specifically by requiring courts to weigh certain factors when setting bail amounts and conditions.

The measure would add this language to the Ohio Constitution regarding bail: “When determining the amount of bail, the court shall consider public safety, including the seriousness of the offense, and a person’s criminal record, the likelihood a person will return to court, and any other factor the general assembly may prescribe.”

To amend the constitution in Ohio, a 60 percent vote in each legislative chamber during one legislative session is required. After the amendment passes both chambers, it goes to the voters for approval.

The Senate voted down party lines, with the Senate Republicans supporting the amendment and Senate Democrats opposing the amendment. Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-2) stated that “Ohioans care about public safety, and I have no doubt that they will overwhelmingly support this amendment.”

State Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-9) spoke in opposition to the amendment. “Good prosecutors in Ohio already know how to keep dangerous suspects in jail pending trial,” he stated, “They request a detention hearing and present evidence about the risk to public safety. This ensures that before denying a person who is still considered innocent their freedom, due process rights must be respected and enforced. A judge can also decide to hold a defendant without bail.”

Ohio voters will vote on this amendment, along with another, on the November 8 ballot this year. This is the second constitutional amendment placed on the Ohio general election ballot. Currently, there are two total measures on the ballot. The other measure, if passed, would amend the Ohio constitution to prohibit noncitizens from voting in local and statewide elections.

Since 1985, a total of 26 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been approved by voters in Ohio, and four amendments have been defeated.

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Citizenship voting requirement amendment on the ballot for Ohio voters

On Wednesday, June 1, the Ohio State Senate voted unanimously to pass House Joint Resolution 4 (HJR4), placing it on the general election ballot for voters this November. It is the first measure to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot in Ohio.

The measure would amend three sections of the Ohio Constitution—Section 1 of Article V, Section 3 of Article X, and Section 3 of Article XVIII. The language in Section 1, Article V would be changed from “Every citizen of the United States … is entitled to vote in all elections”, to “Only a citizen of the United States … is entitled to vote in all elections”.  

This measure would prohibit non-citizens from voting in Ohio statewide or local elections.

HJR4 was first introduced on May 17, 2022, and was sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards (R-94) and Rep. Bill Seitz (R-30). It passed the Ohio General Assembly a week later, on May 25, 2022. 

“This is about the integrity of our elections,” Edwards said in a statement after HJR4 passed the Assembly, “Citizenship matters. We are being proactive to ensure our election laws are clear and unambiguous. I believe this is an issue most Ohioans, regardless of party affiliation, will support.”

Previously, the council of the Village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, passed a charter amendment to allow all residents who are at least 16 years old to vote in local elections, as well as allowing non-U.S. citizens to be eligible to vote. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued an order stating that non-citizens in the Village of Yellow Springs could not vote or register to vote.

Democrats and Republicans in the Ohio State Senate unanimously voted for the amendment to pass, while in the General Assembly, the vote was 68-28. All 28 ‘no’ votes were from Democratic assembly members, while 5 Democrats and 63 Republicans voted for the measure.

Secretary LaRose released the following statement after the Senate vote. “To reiterate, Ohio elections are only for Ohio citizens,” he stated, “The right to vote is sacrosanct and fundamental to what citizenship means in America and is why so many immigrate from around the world to the U.S., wait their turn in line, and go through the laborious citizenship process so they too can participate in this hallmark of democracy.”

Gary Daniels, Chief Lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, opposes the measure. “It is clear this latest effort has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with politics,” he stated, “Ohio law is explicit with regard to voter eligibility and citizenship, making HJR 4 and SJR 6 and the rush to put this matter on the ballot 100% unnecessary.”

This amendment joins three other voting-related ballot measures in other states certified for 2022 elections—in Alabama, Arizona, and Connecticut. The policies of these measures range from voter ID requirements for in-person and mail-in voting, such as the currently certified Arizona measure, or policies to authorize early voting, which is what a certified Connecticut measure would do.

In Ohio, a total of 26 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been approved by voters, while 4 amendments have been defeated, since 1985.

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Amendment C on the June 7 ballot for South Dakota voters

In South Dakota, one statewide ballot measure will appear on the June 7 primary ballot. Amendment C would change the vote requirement for future ballot measures, and may impact measures appearing on the ballot this November. Amendment C is the only statewide ballot measure that will appear on the June 7 ballot in South Dakota.

Currently, in South Dakota, a measure that appears on the ballot needs a simple majority vote (50%+1) to be adopted. Amendment C would change this, specifically pertaining to measures that would increase taxes or fees, or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years. Instead of requiring a simple majority from voters, Amendment C would change the threshold to a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote.

The amendment was first introduced by Rep. Jon Hansen (R-25) on Feb.  2, 2021. The measure passed the House on Feb. 16, 2021, with a vote of 56-12. Initially, the measure was set to appear on the November 2022 general election ballot. However, Senate president pro tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-5) sponsored an amendment to the resolution to instead place it on the June 2022 primary ballot. The Senate passed the amended resolution on March 2, 2021, with a vote of 18-17, and the House concurred on March 4, 2021, with a vote of 51-17. All Democratic legislators voted against the amendment, while the votes among Republicans were split 18-14 in the Senate and 51-10 in the House.

The election date change was debated among legislators and ballot measure campaigns, specifically because the effects of Amendment C would impact another measure set to appear on the November ballot—Constitutional Amendment D, an initiative which would expand Medicaid in South Dakota. Sen. Schoenbeck stated that his motivation to push Amendment C to the June 2022 ballot was specifically due to this Medicaid expansion initiative. “I put it there because I want it to be in place—if the voters approve it—for the general election that’s going to happen because we’re going to have Medicaid expansion there,” Schoenbeck said. “I don’t happen to support more welfare. I want to have a higher threshold for when we vote on that in November. That’s why it’s on the primary ballot. There’s no other reason.”

Dakotans for Health, the campaign supporting Constitutional Amendment D, filed a referendum petition attempting to require Amendment C to appear on the November ballot rather than the June ballot, but Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) rejected the petition, finding that constitutional amendment resolutions are not subject to referendum petitions.

Americans for Prosperity is the largest donor to the campaign in support of Amendment C, the South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes PAC. Americans for Prosperity has contributed $836,488 in in-kind donations to the PAC, and has stated that Amendment C “will protect South Dakota from tax-and-spend groups who want to use the ballot process to bypass the elected legislature.” South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes has raised a total of $905,988 in contributions.

The campaign in opposition to Amendment C, South Dakotans For Fair Elections, has raised $1.63 million in contributions. Top donors include the National Education Association ($455,960), The Fairness Project ($367,696), Avera Health ($250,000), and Sanford Health ($250,000). Health organizations, such as Sanford Health, have argued that Amendment C could make expanding Medicaid more difficult. 

“Medicaid Expansion, for example, is on the general election ballot this November to expand access to care and it would be at significant risk. Requiring a 60% vote to pass a citizen-backed initiative limits the power of South Dakota voters by creating such a high bar,” stated Paul Hanson, president of Sanford Health.

Three states already require a supermajority vote for some ballot measures:

  • Washington requires three-fifths (60%) approval from all voters casting a ballot on initiatives or referendums related to gambling.
  • Utah requires a two-thirds (66.67%) vote for the approval of any initiatives concerning the taking of wildlife.
  • Florida requires a 60% vote for the approval of constitutional amendments, whether citizen-initiated or legislatively referred.

In addition, another state, Arkansas, will vote on a measure requiring a 60% vote to adopt constitutional amendments and citizen-initiated state statutes appearing on their ballot in November.

South Dakota voters will make the decision on Amendment C when they go to the voting booth next Tuesday, June 7. Since 1985, voters in South Dakota have approved 26 legislatively referred constitutional amendments and rejected 26.

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