Author

Ryan Byrne

Ryan Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Fewer bills passed in 2022 to change ballot initiative processes compared to 2021

In 2022, state legislators introduced at least 232 bills to change citizen-initiated ballot measure processes. Of the 232 legislative proposals, 23 (9.91%) were enacted into law. 

In 2021, for comparison, 226 bills were introduced and 36 (15.93%) were enacted. While the number of bills introduced in 2022 was higher than each year from 2014 to 2021, the number of bills passed into law was lower than the average. Between 2014 and 2021, an average of 28 bills were enacted into law each year.

Examples of bills passed in 2022 include:

  • Florida House Bill 921 (HB 921) was passed in March 2022. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill on April 6. HB 921 would have prohibited out-of-state donors from giving more than $3,000 to support or oppose an initiative during the signature-gathering phase. The limit could have made the signature gathering process more difficult to fund. A federal district court struck the bill down as unconstitutional.
  • Florida House Bill 921 (HB 921) was passed in March 2022. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill on April 6. HB 921 would have prohibited out-of-state donors from giving more than $3,000 to support or oppose an initiative during the signature-gathering phase. The limit could have made the signature gathering process more difficult to fund. A federal district court struck the bill down as unconstitutional.

While the number of enacted laws decreased from 2021 to 2022, the number of legislatively referred measures related to the initiative process increased from two in 2018 to four in 2020 to six in 2022. 

There were five constitutional amendments in 2022 to change the initiative process. Voters approved two of the changes and rejected three. The amendments were on the ballot in Arkansas, Arizona, and South Dakota.

  • Arkansas Issue 2: Rejected. Issue 2 would have required a 60% vote to approve ballot initiatives.
  • Arizona Proposition 128: Rejected. Proposition 128 would have allowed the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Arizona Proposition 129: Approved. Proposition 129 requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
  • Arizona Proposition 132: Approved. Proposition 132 requires a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes.
  • South Dakota Amendment C: Defeated. Amendment C would have required a 60% vote to pass ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or increase appropriations by $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

In Colorado, the Legislature referred a statute, Proposition GG, to the ballot. Voters approved Proposition GG, which requires a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title for initiated measures.



Two veto referendum campaigns and California executive departments disagree on when referendums suspend fast food workers and oil and gas laws

The campaign Save Local Restaurants filed 1 million signatures for a veto referendum to overturn California Assembly Bill 257 (AB 257), also known as the FAST Act, on Dec. 5, 2022. At least 623,212 signatures must be valid. Counties have until Jan. 25, 2023, to check a random sample of signatures. In California, a veto referendum is a type of citizen-initiated ballot measure that asks voters whether to uphold or repeal a law. There are 23 states with a process for veto referendums.

The FAST Act was designed to establish a fast food council, which would be authorized to increase the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $22 per hour and establish working hours and conditions. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the legislation on Sept. 5.

The FAST Act was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The Save Local Restaurants PAC and California Industrial Relations Department disagree on whether the Fast ACT was suspended when the campaign filed signatures on Dec. 5. While both the campaign and state agree the bill would be suspended ahead of the election on Nov. 5, 2024, the campaign says the bill was suspended upon signature submission and the state says the bill wouldn’t be suspended until and unless enough signatures are verified.

Erin Mellon, a spokesperson for Gov. Newsom, said the bill would be enforced on Jan. 1. Mellon said, “Although industry is backing a referendum measure, the secretary of state has not certified that it has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The state has an obligation to implement this important law unless and until that occurs. We will, of course, abide by any court order.” According to Mellon, the FAST Act would not be suspended until and unless signatures are verified, which could come on Jan. 25.

The Save Local Restaurants PAC stated that AB 257 became “ineffective and unenforceable in its entirety” when signatures were submitted on Dec. 5. Kurt Oneto, a lawyer representing Save Local Restaurants, said that of the 50 veto referendums that have made the ballot since 1912, “not in a single one of those prior instances did the state ever attempt to temporarily enforce the referred statute while the signature review process was underway.”

Katrina Hagen, director of the California Industrial Relations Department, said there is an “absence of clear authority providing that AB 257 is suspended merely upon submission of unverified signatures.”

The Save Local Restaurants PAC filed a lawsuit to prevent the implementation of the FAST Act. Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang placed an injunction on the bill ahead of a hearing on Jan. 13, 2023. Lawyers for the PAC cited the constitutional amendment from 1911, which created the referendum process, as saying “… no such act or section or part of such act shall go into effect until and unless approved by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon.” This constitutional language was repealed and replaced in 1966, when voters approved Proposition 1A.

The California Constitution now says, “If a referendum petition is filed against a part of a statute, the remainder of the statute shall not be delayed from going into effect.” The lawsuit stated that a logical extension of this requirement is that when referendum petitions are filed against an entire statute, the entire statute is delayed from going into effect, and “referendum petition is filed” refers to filing signatures. The lawsuit cites a 2020 stipulated agreement between Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and petitioners behind a flavored tobacco ban referendum. That agreement said the flavored tobacco ban legislation would not take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, while signatures were being verified.

Besides the veto referendum on the FAST Act, signatures are also being verified for a veto referendum on Senate Bill 1137 (SB 1137), which would prohibit new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals and require companies to monitor leaks and emissions and install alarms. Like the FAST Act, SB 1137 was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA) is leading the campaign, Stop the Energy Shutdown, for the veto referendum. Rock Zierman, the CEO of CIPA, said the law should be suspended pending signature verification, but that CIPA decided not to sue as the group expects the law to be suspended when signatures are verified on or before Feb. 7.

In California, voters have voted on 50 veto referendums, upholding laws 21 times (42%) and repealing laws 29 times (58%). The most recent veto referendum was on the ballot in Nov. 2022, when voters upheld a bill to ban flavored tobacco products.

Additional reading:



Signatures required for ballot initiatives decreased by 7.34% on average following the 2022 election

Signatures required for ballot initiatives decreased by 7.34% on average following the 2022 election.

Heading into 2023, signature requirements for citizen-initiated measures will change in 20 states. There are 26 states that allow for initiatives or referendums, and in each of these states, the number of signatures required is tied to another number. The most common type of requirement is based on the number of votes in a specific election, such as the gubernatorial election.

Turnout on November 8, 2022, caused signature requirements for citizen-initiated ballot measures to change in 17 states. An additional three states will change their requirements based on the number of registered voters. The average state signature requirement change was a -7.34% decrease. Changes ranged from a -28.84% decrease in Wyoming to a +7.70% increase in Arizona. 

Overall, signature requirements increased in six states: Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, and Arkansas.

And signature requirements decreased in 12 states following the election: Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, and Wyoming.

The number of signatures required also decreased by -7.04% in Idaho, where the signature requirement is based on the number of registered voters at the time of the election. In Utah, the signature requirement will update on January 1, 2023, based on the number of active voters. In Nebraska, the signature requirement is based on the number of registered voters at the signature deadline. 

Arizona had the largest percent increase (+7.70%) in the number of signatures required. In Arizona, the signature requirement is based on votes cast in the 2022 gubernatorial election. Including Arizona, 13 states base their signature requirements on the number of votes cast in midterm gubernatorial elections or another state executive election. The average change in these states was -1.72%, with a range of -12.99% in Maryland to +7.70% in Arizona.

California had the largest decrease in the raw number of signatures required, with the requirement for initiated constitutional amendments decreasing from 997,139 to 874,641 for 2024 and 2026. Arizona had the largest increase in the raw number of signatures required, with the requirement for initiated constitutional amendments increasing from 356,467 to 383,923 for 2024 and 2026.

Wyoming had the largest percent decrease (-28.84%) in the number of signatures required. In Wyoming, the signature requirement is based on turnout at the preceding general election, both presidential and midterm elections. Including Wyoming, four states base their signature requirements on turnout at the preceding general election. As turnout was lower in 2022, a midterm election, compared to 2020, a presidential election, the signature requirement decreased in each of these four states, from −28.84% in Wyoming to -23.00% in New Mexico.

Signature requirements have not changed in six states – Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington. In North Dakota, the requirement changes once per decade with the decennial census population count. In Florida, the requirement is based on the number of votes cast for president. The other states base their requirements on votes cast in gubernatorial elections that did not occur in 2022.



Voters addressed 132 statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8

On Nov. 8, voters in 37 states decided on 132 statewide ballot measures. As of Nov. 14, voters approved 87 (66%) and defeated 38 (29%). Seven (5%) remained uncalled; five were leaning ‘No’ and two were leaning ‘Yes.’

In 2020, 120 measures were on the ballot in November. Voters approved 88 (73%) and defeated 32 (27%). From 2010 to 2020, 67% of statewide ballot measures were approved. 

The following are the results for measures addressing a selection of topics.

Abortion: Voters in five states decided on measures related to abortion. Campaigns that described themselves as pro-choice or pro-reproductive rights were successful on each measure. In California, Michigan, and Vermont, voters approved amendments to provide state constitutional rights to abortion. In Kentucky, voters rejected an amendment designed to provide that the state constitution cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. In Montana, a measure called the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was also defeated. 

Marijuana: Measures to legalize marijuana were on the ballot in five states. Two—Maryland and Missouri—approved legalization measures. Three— Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota—rejected citizen-initiated measures. North and South Dakota have voted on marijuana legalization before. In 2018, voters in North Dakota rejected a measure. In 2020, voters in South Dakota approved a measure with 54%; however, the state Supreme Court struck down the measure. Including Maryland and Missouri, 21 states have passed laws to legalize marijuana, including 14 that did so via ballot measure.

Income Taxes: Voters decided on state income tax ballot measures in four states. In California, voters rejected an initiative to enact a 1.75% tax on personal income above $2 million and allocate revenue toward zero-emissions vehicles and wildfire programs. In Massachusetts, voters approved an amendment to enact a 4% tax on income above $1 million and allocate revenue toward education and transportation purposes. Voters in Colorado decided on two income tax-related measures, both of which were approved. Colorado Proposition 121 reduced the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40%. Colorado Proposition FF reduced income tax deductions and allocates increased revenue to a program for free school meals and local school food grants. In Idaho, voters approved a non-binding question asking about a bill to establish a flat income and corporate tax structure.

Firearms: In Oregon, voters approved an initiative, Measure 114, to require people to obtain a law enforcement-issued permit to purchase a firearm. Under Measure 114, obtaining a permit requires a photo ID, fingerprints, safety training, criminal background check, and fee payment. Measure 114 also prohibited ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. In Iowa, voters approved an amendment adding a right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution. The amendment also provided that “restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

RCV: Nevada Question 3, which would enact a top-five ranked-choice voting system, was approved. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments need to be approved at two successive general elections. As Question 3 was approved this year, the initiative must be approved for a second time on Nov. 5, 2024. At least nine local jurisdictions voted on RCV measures. Measures were approved in six jurisdictions – Ojai, CA; Fort Collins, CO; Evanston, IL; Portland, ME; Multnomah County, OR; and Portland, OR. Measures were defeated in two jurisdictions – Clark County and San Juan County, WA. In Seattle, voters decided on a competing measure between approval voting and RCV. The measure is too close to call as of Nov. 14, with 50.35% voting “Either” and 49.65% voting “Neither.” Should “Either” prevail, the system receiving the most votes would be enacted; RCV received 75% and approval voting received 25%. 

Other Voting Policies: Voters decided on changes to voting-related policies in six states, including Nevada. In Nebraska, voters approved an initiative to require photo identification to vote. In Connecticut, an amendment to allow for early voting was approved. Voters in Ohio approved a constitutional amendment to prohibit local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote. In Michigan, voters approved Proposal 2, which added several new and existing election policies to the state constitution. One measure, in Arizona, remained uncalled. As of Nov. 14, Arizona Proposition 309 received 49.5% of the vote. This measure would require dates of birth and voter identification numbers for mail-in ballots and eliminate the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting. 

Nov. 8 wasn’t the last state ballot measure election of 2022. On Dec. 10, voters in Louisiana will decide on three constitutional amendments, including an amendment, similar to Ohio’s, to prohibit local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote. The other two amendments would require Senate confirmation for appointees to the State Civil Service Commission and State Police Commission.

Earlier in 2022, voters in four states decided on five ballot measures. Voters approved three and rejected two of these measures.



Ballot measure campaign contributions top $1 billion

In 2022, 140 state ballot measures were certified for the ballot, including 132 for November 8. As of November 1, Ballotpedia identified $1.03 billion in contributions to support or oppose this year’s statewide measures. In 2020, for comparison, $1.24 billion was raised through December 31, 2020, to support or oppose 129 state ballot measures.

California accounts for 69.5% of the cumulative contributions across the states. In California, $713.5 million has been raised for seven ballot propositions. The next four states with the most contributions are:

  • Michigan, where three measures are on the ballot, at $93.6 million or 9.1% of the cumulative total.
  • Massachusetts, where four measures are on the ballot, at $57.3 million or 5.6% of the cumulative total.
  • Colorado, where 11 measures are on the ballot, at $41.5 million or 4.0% of the cumulative total.
  • Nevada, where three measures are on the ballot, at $21.1 million or 2.1% of the cumulative total.

In 2020, the top three states were California (61.58%), Illinois (9.96%), and Massachusetts (4.97%). In 2018, the top three states were California (31.12%), Nevada (10.76%), and Florida (10.63%). 

The chart below compares total contributions between 2018, 2020, and 2022, along with the amount associated with campaigns in California:

California Proposition 27 has seen the most contributions at $418.5 million between supporters and opponents. Proposition 27 would legalize online and mobile sports betting in the state. Between Proposition 27 and Proposition 26, which would legalize sports betting at licensed racetracks at American Indian-owned casinos, campaigns surrounding the sports betting issue in California have received $462.2 million. Several PACs are spending funds supporting or opposing both initiatives. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is the largest donor to a ballot measure committee in 2022, providing $103.1 million to oppose Proposition 27.

Outside of California, the most expensive ballot measure is Michigan Proposal 3, a citizen-initiated measure to provide a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom – a term defined to include abortion, contraceptives, and other pregnancy-related matters. Supporters raised $45.75 million, including $5.51 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and $5.25 million from the ACLU. Opponents raised $17.35 million, including $9.43 million from Right to Life Michigan and $6.07 million from the Michigan Catholic Conference. 

Campaigns surrounding the following 10 ballot measures have received the most contributions:



Bills introduced to change the initiative process increased in 2022, but those enacted decreased

Bills introduced to change the initiative process increased in 2022. However, fewer bills have been enacted in 2022 compared to 2021. The number of legislatively referred ballot measures related to initiatives also increased in 2022 compared to 2020.

In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 231 bills regarding ballot measure laws. Seventeen of these bills were passed and signed into law. Most (187) did not come to a vote before legislative sessions adjourned or were defeated. In 2021, for comparison, Ballotpedia tracked fewer bills—226—but 36 were enacted.

Of the bills enacted in 2022, one law, in particular, could have an effect on signature drives. Florida HB 921, signed on April 6, prohibited out-of-state donors from giving more than $3,000 to support or oppose an initiative during the signature-gathering phase. In June, a federal judge blocked the bill.

In 2021, legislatures passed bills in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Montana, and Utah regarding signature drives, such as increasing distribution requirements or prohibiting paid circulators. While the number of enacted laws decreased from 2021 to 2022, the number of legislatively referred measures related to the initiative process increased from two in 2018 to four in 2020 to six in 2022. 

In November, voters will decide on five measures—four constitutional amendments and one statute —related to the initiative process. Legislatures voted to place these measures on the ballot. Two of the measures were put on the ballot during 2022 legislative sessions, and the other three were put on the ballot during 2021 legislative sessions.

  1. Arkansas Issue 2: Requires a 60% vote to approve ballot initiatives
  2. Arizona Proposition 128: Allows the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court
  3. Arizona Proposition 129: Requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  4. Arizona Proposition 132: Requires a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes
  5. Colorado Proposition GG: Requires a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title for initiated measures

In June, voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C, which would have required a three-fifths vote of approval for ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

In 2020, legislatures placed four measures on the ballot to change initiative processes. There was also one initiative in Florida to require that constitutional amendments be passed at two elections. Measures were defeated in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota. In Montana, voters approved two amendments to establish the existing signature distribution requirements for citizen-initiated measures as constitutional law.



132 statewide measures will be on Nov. 8 ballot

Voters in 37 states will decide on 132 ballot measures at the general election on November 8. As five ballot measures were decided at elections earlier this year, and three more will be decided in December, the annual total of statewide ballot measures for 2022 is 140.

Across the U.S., ballot measures will address issues like abortion, marijuana, and election law in November. Topics like sports betting, psychedelic fungi and plants, flavored tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and income taxes are featured on ballots in some states.

Number of citizen-initiated measures below average

This year’s annual total—140—is more than the number of statewide ballot measures in 2020, which was 129. However, the annual total is below the previous decade’s (2010-2020) average of 164. 

The number of citizen-initiated ballot measures and legislative referrals has decreased since 2010. The number of citizen-initiated measures in 2022 is 30, which is the lowest number during the prior decade. In 2020, there were 43 citizen-initiated measures. 

There could be several reasons for the lower number of initiatives in 2022. For 2022, 851 initiatives were proposed, and 3.5% made the ballot. In 2016, for instance, 1,069 initiatives were proposed, and 7.1% made the ballot. Overall, there is a correlation between the number of initiatives proposed and the number certified for the ballot, and there is also a decade-long trend toward fewer proposed initiatives making the ballot. There are also fewer initiatives, on average, during mid-term years compared to presidential years. From 2010 to 2022, presidential years featured an average of 60 citizen-initiated measures, whereas mid-term years featured an average of 47 citizen-initiated measures. Campaigns have also cited the effects of COVID-19 and labor shortages on signature drive costs in 2022.

An additional factor for ballot initiative campaigns is recent signature increases. Of the 26 states that allow for some form of initiative or referendum, 22 states base their signature requirements on turnout at specific elections, which either occurred in 2018 or 2020. According to the U.S. Elections Project, the midterm turnout in 2018 was 50%, the highest since 1912, and 13.3 percentage points above 2014. The presidential election turnout in 2020 was 66.8%, the highest since 1900, and 6.7 percentage points above 2016. In California, which saw the largest signature increase, the requirement increased by 70.3%. 

Trends include abortion, marijuana, and election policies

Abortion has been a topic for statewide ballot measures since the 1970s. Since 2000, there have been just two general election cycles, 2002 and 2016, without abortion-related state ballot measures. In November, there are five ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record for a single year. Earlier, in August, one measure was defeated in Kansas. Before 2022, the highest number of abortion-related measures on statewide ballots was four in 1986. In California, Michigan, and Vermont, voters will decide on constitutional rights to abortion. In Kentucky, like Kansas, voters will decide on a constitutional amendment to declare that the state constitution cannot be interpreted as creating a right to abortion. Voters in Montana will decide on a measure requiring medical care to be provided to infants born alive after an attempted abortion or other procedure.

Heading into November, marijuana is legal in 19 states and D.C. Of those 19 states, 13 and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot measure process. In 2022, five more states will decide on marijuana legalization ballot measures. In the central U.S., voters in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota will consider citizen-initiated measures to legalize marijuana. In Maryland, the state legislature voted to put the issue before voters.

Voters in 10 states will decide on ballot measures to change election policies or laws in November. South Dakota decided on a measure in June, and Louisiana will decide on one in December. Voters will decide on a top-five ranked-choice voting system in Nevada, where approval of an initiated constitutional amendment is required twice in 2022 and 2024. Voters in three states will decide on legislative proposals to change the processes for citizen-initiated ballot measures this year. Other issues on the ballot include early voting, voter identification, citizenship requirements, and campaign finance reporting.

You can learn more about this year’s statewide ballot measures at Ballotpedia.org.



Six abortion-related measures are on the ballot in 2022—the most on record for a single year

In 2022, there are six ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record. Measures have been certified for the ballot in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont. Votes on these ballot measures follow Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.

Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont will be the first to decide on ballot measures to establish state constitutional rights to abortion. These measures are also the first abortion-related ballot measures since 1992 to have the support of organizations that describe themselves as pro-choice/pro-reproductive rights.

In August, voters in Kansas rejected a measure to provide that the state constitution cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. Turnout on the amendment was 49%, exceeding the number of votes cast in the state’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primaries on August 2. On November 8, voters in Kentucky will decide on a similar amendment. These types of amendments are designed to address previous and future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws. 

In November, voters will decide on five abortion-related ballot measures:

  • California Proposition 1: Amends the California Constitution to provide that the state cannot “deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,” including decisions to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives
  • Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 2: Amends the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding of abortions
  • Michigan Proposal 3: Amends the Michigan Constitution to provide a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraception, and other matters related to pregnancy
  • Montana LR-131: Provides, in state law, that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons and requires medical care to be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method
  • Vermont Amendment: Amends the Vermont Constitution to provide a state constitutional right to personal reproductive autonomy

From 1970 to August 2022, there have been 48 abortion-related ballot measures, and 41 (85%) of these had the support of organizations that described themselves as pro-life. Voters approved 11 (27%) and rejected 30 (73%) of these 41 ballot measures. The other seven abortion-related ballot measures had the support of organizations that described themselves as pro-choice or pro-reproductive rights. Voters approved four (57%) and rejected three (43%).

Additional reading:



Voters in St. Louis, Missouri, approve two ballot measures on Aug. 2

On August 2, voters in St. Louis, Missouri, approved two ballot measures—Proposition F and Proposition S.

St. Louis Proposition F amended the city’s charter to increase the maximum fine for violations of ordinances regarding environmental conditions, such as dumping waste and debris and prohibited refuse, from $500 to $1,000. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 85.03% to 14.97%. A 60% supermajority vote was required to approve Proposition F. In March, the St. Louis City Council voted 27-0 to place the measure on the ballot.

St. Louis Public Schools Proposition S authorized the Board of Education to issue $160 million in general obligation bonds for school renovations, repairs, and upgrades. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 86.87% to 13.13%. A four-sevenths (57.14%) vote was needed to approve the ballot measure. 

Superintendent Kelvin Adams said the bond revenue would cover about half of the district’s needed fixes. “We’re only going to touch the surface of this,” said Adams, “We know for a fact that there are more needs than the dollars will support, but this gets us moving in the right direction.” Voters last approved a bond for St. Louis Public Schools in 2010.

Since 2018, voters in St. Louis, and jurisdictions that include St. Louis, have decided on 18 local ballot measures, approving 15 (83%) and rejecting three (17%). Before August 2, the last citywide election in St. Louis was on April 5, 2022, when voters approved two ballot measures – an initiative addressing redistricting and conflict of interest policies and a capital improvements bond measure.   

St. Louis also held citywide primaries on August 2, including for the offices of the collector of revenue, license collector, and recorder of deeds.



Kansans reject amendment to provide that the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion

Kansans rejected an amendment to provide that the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion on August 2. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 58.78% ‘No’ to 41.22% ‘Yes’.

Based on unofficial results, 908,745 people voted on the constitutional amendment compared to 727,360 in the gubernatorial primaries and 718,545 in the U.S. Senate primaries. Turnout on the amendment exceeded overall turnout at the 2018 (457,598) and 2020 (636,032) state primaries.

Democratic voter turnout, relative to total turnout, for the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries were also at their highest since at least 2014.

  • Of those who voted in the gubernatorial primaries, 38% voted in the Democratic primary compared to 33% in 2018 and 20% in 2014.
  • Of those who voted in the U.S. Senate primaries, 35% voted in the Democratic primary compared to 32% in 2018, 24% in 2016, and 20% in 2014.

Kansas is the seventh state to vote on an amendment addressing constitutional interpretation and abortion. These types of amendments are designed to address previous or future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws. In Kansas, for example, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Bill of Rights provided a state constitutional right to abortion in 2019.

Since 2014, voters in four states – Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia – have approved such amendments. The last state to reject one was Florida in 2012. The next state to vote on this type of amendment is Kentucky on November 8, 2022. 

In Kansas, the Value Them Both PAC led the campaign in support of the amendment. Supporters included U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R) and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R). The campaign received $6.03 million through July 18, including $2.95 million from the Archdiocese of Kansas City.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom led the campaign in opposition to the amendment. Opponents included Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-3). The campaign received $7.35 million through July 18, including $1.39 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

The constitutional amendment was the first abortion-related ballot measure to be decided following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. Both campaigns issued statements placing the amendment within the context of that decision. Value Them Both said, “The U.S. Supreme Court restored the people’s ability to come to individual consensus on abortion limits — but not in Kansas. As it stands today, unelected judges in Kansas are the ones who will decide the fate of abortion limits.” Kansans for Constitutional Freedom said, “The Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. On August 2, Kansas will be the first state in the nation to vote on reproductive freedom following this decision.”

In November, voters will decide on four more abortion-related ballot measures. Beside the constitutional amendment in Kentucky, measures will be on the ballot in California, Montana, and Vermont. Voters in California and Vermont will be the first to decide ballot measures to establish state constitutional rights to abortion. Michigan, where signatures are being verified for an initiated constitutional amendment, could join California and Vermont as well. In Montana, voters will decide a measure to provide that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons and must receive medical care after an attempted abortion, induced labor, cesarean section, or other method. A campaign in Colorado is collecting signatures for an initiative to prohibit abortion in the state.

Additional reading:

2022 abortion-related ballot measures

History of abortion ballot measures