Author

Victoria Antram

Victoria Antram is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

No initiative campaigns submitted signatures by Dec. 25 deadline in Ohio

No initiative campaigns submitted signatures in Ohio on the Dec. 25 deadline. In Ohio, initiated statutes are indirect, requiring 132,887 signatures in 2021 to go before the Ohio State Legislature. If enough signatures are submitted, the legislature has the option to approve an initiative without a vote of electors. If the state legislature does not adopt an indirect initiative, the initiated statute becomes direct, requiring an additional 132,887 signatures (for a grand total of 265,774) to go before voters in 2021.

The signature deadline was 10 days before the Ohio State Legislature will convene on January 4, 2021.

Ohioans for Gun Safety, which sponsored the Ohio Background Checks for Firearm Purchases Initiative, announced in December 2019 that it would target the 2021 ballot instead of the 2020 ballot. Dennis Willard, a spokesperson for Ohioans for Gun Safety, said, “We think that 2021 gives us the best opportunity to have a clear and simple and straight forward conversation with Ohio voters that background checks for gun safety will save lives and reduce gun violence.” The initiative would have required that an unlicensed person wishing to sell or transfer a firearm to another person to conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer running a background check. The campaign did not submit signatures by the deadline.

Between 1995 and 2020,  45 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Ohio. Voters approved 53.3% (24 of 45) and rejected 46.7% (21 of 45) of the statewide ballot measures.

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Rhode Island voters will decide seven bond issues at a special election in March

On December 18, Governor Gina Raimondo (D) signed the 2021 state budget that included seven bond issues totaling $400 million. Rhode Island voters will decide the questions at a special election on March 2, 2021. The ballot titles, amounts, and purposes are listed below:

  • Question 1: Issues $107.3 million in bonds for the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, the Rhode Island College Clarke Science Building, and the Community College of Rhode Island
  • Question 2: Issues $74 million in bonds for state beaches, parks, recreational facilities, and water projects
  • Question 3: Issues $65 million in bonds for building and renovating public housing projects
  • Question 4: Issues $71.7 million in bonds for transportation infrastructure
  • Question 5: Issues $15 million in bonds for the Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund
  • Question 6: Issues $7 million in bonds for the Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant Program and the State Preservation Grants Program
  • Question 7: Issues $60 million in bonds to fund improvements to industrial facilities infrastructure

To put a legislatively referred bond question before voters, a simple majority vote is required in both the Rhode Island State Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives. In Rhode Island, the state General Assembly must ask voters to issue general obligation bonds over $50,000, except in the case of war, insurrection, or invasion.

The bond measures were introduced into the Rhode Island General Assembly as provisions of Article II of House Bill 7171 (HB 7171) on January 16, 2020. On December 16, 2020, Article II of HB 7171 passed in a vote of 58-7, with 10 members not voting, in the state House. On December 18, 2020, the state Senate voted 31 to five, with one member not voting, to approve HB 7171.

Between 2008 and 2020, voters in Rhode Island decided on 22 bond measures, totaling $1.3 billion in principal value. Voters approved 100 percent of the bond measures, with support ranging from 55.23 percent (Question 2 of 2010) to 83.89 percent (Question 3 of 2016). Voters have not rejected a bond measure since 2006 when 50.56 percent of electors rejected a $4.0 million bond for improvements in Fort Adams State Park.

The last odd-year bond election in Rhode Island was in 1985 where nine bond measures were approved.

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Sales and gaming tax initiatives headed to the Nevada State Legislature after clearing signature threshold

On December 15, 2020, county officials finished verifying signatures for the Sales Tax Increase for Public Schools Initiative and the Gaming Tax Increase on Monthly Revenue above $250,000 Initiative. The initiatives will be considered during the 2021 legislative session that convenes on February 1. If the legislature does not pass or the governor does not sign the initiatives, they will be put on the November 2022 ballot.

Fund Our Schools is sponsoring the Sales Tax Increase for Public Schools Initiative and submitted 190,192 raw signatures. County officials verified 137,791 signatures (72.4%) as valid. 

Nevadans for Fair Gaming Taxes is sponsoring the Gaming Tax Increase on Monthly Revenue above $250,000 Initiative and submitted 201,935 raw signatures. County officials verified 148,605 signatures (73.6%) as valid.

The Sales Tax Increase for Public Schools Initiative would increase the state’s Local School Support Tax by 1.5 percentage points with revenue dedicated to public schools. An additional 0.35% sales and use tax with dedicated revenues for public education was imposed on June 30, 2015, which brought the current total tax to 2.6%. The new total Local School Support Tax would be 4.1%. The tax is expected to generate $340 million according to the Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Local sales tax rates vary, creating a range of total existing sales tax rates in Nevada from 6.85% to 8.375%. The initiative would increase the combined state and local sales tax rates in Nevada to a range of 8.35% to 9.875%. If approved by the state legislature, the tax would take effect July 1, 2021. If sent to the ballot and approved by voters at the 2022 general election, the tax would take effect on January 1, 2023.

The Gaming Tax Increase on Monthly Revenue above $250,000 Initiative would increase the rate of the fee on monthly gross gaming revenue above $250,000 to 9.75%. Currently, the Nevada Gaming Commission collects a tax on monthly gross revenue from licensed gaming facilities. The tax is imposed according to the following tiers:

  • 3.5% on gross revenue of the licensee which does not exceed $50,000 per month,
  • 4.5% on gross revenue of the licensee which exceeds $50,000 but does not exceed $134,000 per month, and
  • 6.75% on gross revenue of the licensee which exceeds $134,000.

If approved by the state legislature, the tax would take effect July 1, 2021. If sent to the ballot and approved by voters at the 2022 general election, the tax would take effect on November 22, 2022.

The committees sponsoring the two tax initiatives have received all of their funding from the Clark County Education Association. Fund Our Schools has reported $876,536.59 in cash and in-kind contributions, and Nevadans for Fair Gaming Taxes has reported $817,920.02 in cash and in-kind contributions.

At the outset of the signature campaign, John Vellardita, the executive director for the Clark County Education Association, said, “Our school system statewide is ranked last in the country in funding. And we’ve had three studies in the past six years, independent of each other, and they all came to the same conclusion that we need to adequately fund our schools to the tune of over $1 billion a year. … Our classrooms are the largest in the country, so this money would go toward reducing class size, it would go toward the type of resources and books in the classroom as well as getting teachers out here.” 

The Nevada Resort Association and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce are opposed to the measures. The Nevada Resort Association said, “As Nevada’s largest industry and economic engine continues to do all it can to recover and bring employees back to work, now is not the time to target the resort industry with a 44 percent tax increase that would further damage Nevada’s recovery efforts, create permanent job losses and further jeopardize capital investment and future economic development.”

Between 1996 and 2020, Nevada ballots have featured 29 initiatives with 21 (72.4%) approved and eight (27.6%) defeated.

Nevada is one of eight states with a process for indirect initiated state statutes. Indirect initiated state statutes go to the legislature when enough signatures are gathered, rather than going directly to the ballot. Indirect initiatives only go to the ballot if they are not approved by the legislature or are vetoed.

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Two tax-related ballot initiative campaigns submitted signatures in Nevada 

December 8 was the deadline for counties to certify signatures for 2022 citizen-initiated statutes to the Nevada Secretary of State. Campaigns behind the Gaming Fee Increase on Monthly Revenue above $250,000 Initiative (S-01-2020) and the Sales Tax Increase for Public Schools Initiative (S-02-2020) submitted over 200,000 signatures each to county officials on November 17.

Citizens of Nevada may initiate statutes through the process of indirect initiative. The required number of valid signatures for initiative petitions is 97,598, which equals 10% of the total number of votes cast in the preceding general election. Nevada is one of 16 states that impose distribution requirements for initiative petitions. Of the 97,598 valid signatures needed, 24,400 signatures are required to be collected in each congressional district.

Once sufficient signatures have been collected, statutory initiatives are first presented to the Nevada State Legislature. If approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, the proposed statute becomes law. If not, the law is submitted to voters at the next general election. However, upon the governor’s approval, the legislature may propose an alternative statute to voters. The 2021 legislative session will begin on February 1, 2021.

The Gaming Fee Increase on Monthly Revenue above $250,000 Initiative would increase the rate of the gaming fee on monthly gross revenue above $250,000 to 9.75%. Currently, there are tiered fee rates ranging from 3.5% to 6.75% depending on the amount of monthly gross revenue. The existing maximum rate—which is charged on monthly gross revenue above $134,000—is 6.75%. 

Robert Hollowood filed this initiative with the Nevada Secretary of State on January 13, 2020. In February 2020, the Nevada Resort Association challenged the ballot language submitted by initiative sponsors. They argued that January 1, 2023, will not be the date of effect as stated in the petition, and the funds raised by the increased fee are not solely dedicated to public education. On March 13, Judge James Wilson ruled in favor of the Nevada Resort Association requiring the initiative sponsors to change the effective date and clarify that revenue from the fee would go into the general fund. The sponsors submitted amended ballot language on March 30 to the Nevada Secretary of State. The new effective date if approved by the legislature is July 1, 2021, and the new effective date if approved by voters in 2022 is November 22, 2022.

The Sales Tax Increase for Public Schools Initiative would increase the state’s Local School Support Tax from 2.25% to 3.75%. Including the Local School Support Tax, the total statewide sales and use tax rate in Nevada as of January 1, 2020, was 6.85%. Local sales tax rates vary, creating a range of total existing sales tax rates in Nevada from 6.85% to 8.265%. 

Kenny Belknap filed this initiative with the Nevada Secretary of State on January 15, 2020. In February 2020, BizPac, the political action committee of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, challenged the ballot language submitted by initiative petitioners. The plaintiffs argued that the description of the initiative was misleading because it did not provide the total new sales tax rate. On March 13, Judge James T. Russell ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and issued an injunction requiring the initiative petitioners to resubmit the ballot summary to include the proposed total sales tax rate. The initiative sponsors submitted an amended initiative on March 24.

Campaigns behind the Top-Two Primary Initiative and the Parental Notification for Minor’s Abortion Initiative did not submit signatures by the deadline. The initiatives would have, respectively, established a top-two open primary system for all elected partisan offices and required that parents or guardians of minors seeking an abortion to be notified 48 hours before the procedure.

Protect Our Girls, the campaign behind the Parental Notification for Minor’s Abortion Initiative, filed a lawsuit asking for an extension of the November 18 deadline for signature submission due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related restrictions. On October 21 Federal District Court Judge Miranda Du dismissed the lawsuit.

In 2020, Ballotpedia tracked the following changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:

  1. 27 initiative petition campaigns that abandoned or suspended signature-gathering efforts in 2020;
  2. at least 19 lawsuits filed over signature deadlines and regulations;
  3. four campaigns that shifted their focus to future elections; and
  4. multiple changes to campaign activity and tactics, alteration of rules for signature collection by executive or legislative action, and uses of remote or electronic signature gathering.

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Support and opposition campaigns surrounding Missouri Amendment 3 raised $7.9 million in contributions

Missouri Amendment 3 was approved with a margin of 51% to 49%. Amendment 3 eliminated the nonpartisan state demographer created by Amendment 1 (2018); returned the state to the use of bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor for legislative redistricting; altered the criteria used to draw district maps; and changed limits on state senate campaign finance and lobbyists’ gifts.

Support and opposition campaigns surrounding Amendment 3 reported $7.9 million in combined contributions and $7.8 million in expenditures. 

There were two committees registered in support of Amendment 3: Fair Missouri and Missouri Farm Bureau Fund for Real Representation. Together, they raised over $308,000. The top donors that contributed over $10,000 were the Republican State Committee ($200,000) and Missouri Alliance for Freedom ($41,000).

In addition to the committees formed to campaign in support of Amendment 3, six other political action committees made a combined $36,977.91 in independent expenditures supporting the measure. They are listed below:

  • Missouri Right to Life PAC: $2,325.26
  • Republicans of Pike County: $131.66
  • Missouri Farm Bureau Federation State PAC: $9,961.50
  • Don’t Tread on MO PAC: $18,758.00
  • Missouri Federation of College Republicans: $325.00
  • Northwest Missouri Conservatives PAC: $5,476.49

Clean Missouri, the sponsor of the 2018 amendment, registered in opposition to Amendment 3. It reported $7.5 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee were the National Education Association ($1.5 million), Action Now Initiative ($1.4 million), North Fund ($1.2 million), Open Society ($500,000), and Strategic Victory Fund ($500,000).

Campaigns supporting and opposing the 2018 amendment, which Amendment 3 reversed, reported nearly $6 million in contributions. In 2018, Clean Missouri received $4.7 million in contributions. The Action Now Initiative and the National Education Association were the top two donors to Clean Missouri in 2018 as well.

As of November 16, committees registered to support or oppose 2020 statewide measures reported a combined total of $1.19 billion in contributions and $994.1 million in expenditures so far.

The following five states have the most ballot measure campaign contributions reported so far:

  • California – $739.0 million in contributions
  • Illinois – $121.2 million in contributions
  • Massachusetts – $61.6 million in contributions
  • Colorado – $59.2 million in contributions
  • Arizona – $33.6 million in contributions


Massachusetts ballot measure campaigns raised over $61.6 million this election cycle

Support and opposition campaigns for Massachusetts’ two November statewide ballot measures reported raising a total of $61.6 million according to the latest campaign finance reports filed November 20. 

The Right to Repair Coalition, the sponsor of Question 1, reported $24.9 million in contributions. Question 1 was approved. It amended the 2013 “right to repair law” to require manufacturers that sell vehicles with telematics systems in Massachusetts to equip them with a standardized system beginning with model year 2022 that vehicle owners and independent repair facilities may access to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through a mobile-based application. The top donors to the campaign included:

  • Auto Care Association ($4.6 million)
  • Coalition of Automotive Repair Equality ($4.2 million)
  • AutoZone ($3 million)
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts ($3 million)
  • Advance Auto Parts ($3 million)
  • Genuine Parts Company ($3 million)

The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data registered in opposition to Question 1 and reported $26.5 million in contributions. The top donors to the campaign included:

  • General Motors ($5.5 million)
  • Toyota Motor North America, Inc ($4.5 million)
  • Ford Motor Company ($4.5 million)
  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc ($3.0 million)
  • Nissan North America Inc. ($2.4 million)

The Ranked Choice Voting 2020 Committee sponsored Question 2, the ranked-choice voting initiative, which was defeated 54.8% to 45.2%. The committee reported $10.2 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee were the Action Now Initiative ($3.7 million), Kathryn Murdoch ($2.5 million), and Michael Porter ($450,000). 

No Ranked Choice Voting registered in opposition to Question 2, which was also opposed by Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker (R). The committee reported $8,475 in contributions. 

Committees registered to support or oppose all of the 129 2020 statewide measures have reported a combined total of $1.19 billion in contributions and $994.1 million in expenditures. Massachusetts ballot measure campaigns raised the third largest amount in contributions compared to other states. California campaigns raised the most with $739 million, and Illinois campaigns raised the second most with $121.2 million.

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Oregon ballot measure campaigns raised over $25.3 million

Support and opposition campaigns for Oregon’s four ballot measures reported raising over $25.3 million according to the latest campaign finance reports filed November 10. 

Yes for a Healthy Future, the campaign behind Oregon Measure 108, received the most contributions with over $13.7 million. The top donor to the committee with $3.3 million was Providence Health and Services, a Washington-based Catholic nonprofit hospital system. The opposition campaign—No on 108—reported $8,000 in contributions. Measure 108 was approved and will enact increased taxes on tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes).

Supporters of Oregon Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of controlled substances, reported nearly $6 million in contributions with More Treatment for a Better Oregon receiving the bulk of the contributions. The top donor to the support committees was the Drug Policy Alliance with $5 million in contributions. Drug Policy Alliance is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded marijuana legalization and drug decriminalization efforts in other states. More Treatment for a Better Oregon also received $500,000 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The No on Measure 110 campaign reported receiving $167,740.00 in contributions with the bulk of that being in loans.

Yes for Psilocybin Therapy, the campaign in support of Measure 109, reported receiving $3.9 million in contributions. The top donor to the campaign was New Approach PAC with $3.5 million. New Approach is a 527 nonprofit organization founded in 2014 and based in Washington, D.C. The organization has supported other ballot initiatives to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. No campaigns registered in opposition to Measure 109, which was approved.

There were two campaigns registered in support of Measure 107: Yes for Fair and Honest Elections and Honest Elections Oregon. Together, they reported receiving $171,397.00 in contributions. The measure was approved. It will authorize the state legislature and local governments to enact certain campaign finance restrictions and requirements. The top donors to the support campaign were End Citizen’s United ($25,200), Kate Brown Committee ($27,833.00), and AFSCME Council 75 (20,000.00).

From 1985 to 2020, the average number of measures appearing on even-numbered year Oregon ballots was 14. The four measures in 2020 were the fewest number of measures to appear on even-numbered year ballots.

In 2020, committees registered to support or oppose statewide ballot measures reported a combined total of $1.19 billion in contributions. The following five states had the most ballot measure campaign contributions reported:

  • California – $739.0 million in contributions
  • Illinois – $121.2 million in contributions
  • Massachusetts – $61.6 million in contributions
  • Colorado – $59.2 million in contributions
  • Arizona – $33.6 million in contributions

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Louisiana legislature certifies constitutional amendment for December 5 ballot

On October 21, 2020, the Louisiana Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the December 5 ballot during its second special legislative session. Senate Bill 44 (SB 44) would allow the governor to appoint at-large members to the boards of supervisors of state university systems from outside of the state if there are multiple at-large seats and at least one at-large seat is filled by a member from the state. The boards would each still consist of 15 members appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate. Currently, the Louisiana Constitution requires all members to be from the state.

In Louisiana, a two-thirds vote is needed in each chamber of the Louisiana Legislature to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot for voter consideration.

SB 44 was introduced on September 30, 2020. The state Senate and House approved the bill unanimously.

SB 44 is the only 2020 ballot measure certified for a post-November 3 statewide election. Louisiana voters will decide seven constitutional amendments on November 3 that concern abortion, taxes, natural resources, and state finances. In addition to statewide constitutional amendments, measures legalizing sports betting on a parish-by-parish basis are on the ballot in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes on November 3. 

Louisiana is holding a general runoff election on December 5. Louisiana’s electoral system for local, state, and federal offices differs from those employed in the other 49 states. In Louisiana, all candidates running for a local, state, or federal office appear on the same ballot in either October (in odd-numbered years) or November (in even-numbered years), regardless of their partisan affiliations. If a candidate wins a simple majority of all votes cast for the office (i.e., 50 percent, plus one vote), he or she wins the election outright. If no candidate meets that threshold, the top two finishers, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the election in December. In that election, the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes wins.

Between 1995 and 2019, Louisiana voters decided 189 constitutional amendments, averaging 10 measures per even-numbered year election. Voters approved 75 percent (141 of 189) and rejected 25 percent (48 of 189) of the constitutional amendments.

Additional reading:

Louisiana 2020 ballot measures



Missouri voters to decide amendments concerning redistricting, term limits on November 3

On November 3, Missouri voters will decide on Amendment 1 and Amendment 3. Amendment 1 proposes limiting state executives to two terms. Amendment 3 would repeal provisions of a 2018 redistricting initiative and reinstate—with certain changes—a political redistricting commission. Missouri Amendment 2 of 2020, a Medicaid expansion initiative, was put on the ballot for the August primary election.

Amendment 1 would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general to two terms of office in a lifetime. Missouri approved a ballot measure that enacted the same term limits for the governor in 1965 with 72.96% of the vote. Currently, Missouri is one of eight states to limit the governor to two terms in a lifetime. Thirty-six states have some type of term limit on the office of governor, and 14 states have no limit. 

The following is a breakdown of the number of states with no term limits for state executive offices:

  1. 23 states do not limit the terms of lieutenant governors;
  2. 31 states do not limit the terms of secretaries of state;
  3. 33 states do not limit the terms of attorneys general;
  4. 13 states do not limit the terms of state treasurer; and
  5. 17 states do not limit the terms of state auditors (or equivalent positions).

The Missouri Legislature referred Amendment 1 to the ballot. The Senate approved it 31 to three. The House approved it 114 to 32. Missouri State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (R), the sponsor of the measure, said, “The voters of Missouri have made it clear they emphatically support term limits. This measure will bring consistency to our term limits for all state officials and prevent them from becoming career politicians.”

The legislature also referred Amendment 3 to the ballot. The state Senate passed Amendment 3 in a vote of 22 to nine. All but one of the 23 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the amendment. All eight Democrats voted against it. The state House passed Amendment 3 in a vote of 98 to 56 with eight absent.

Amendment 3 would return the state to the use of bipartisan commissions—one for the Senate and one for the House—to draw district maps. The commissions would each have 20 members, rather than 18 and 10, respectively. Commissioners would be appointed by the governor from nominees provided by committees of the two largest political parties.

Amendment 3 would also allow the use of citizen voting-age population instead of total population for the census and redistricting process.

Amendment 3 would also eliminate the nonpartisan state demographer, which was created by the approval of Amendment 1 (2018), a citizen initiative referred to by supporters as “Clean Missouri.” Amendment 1 was approved with 62.02% of the vote.

In addition to changing the redistricting process, Amendment 1 added partisan fairness and competitiveness to the criteria used to draw district lines. Amendment 3 would require that equal population, voter rights abridgment, contiguous districts, and simple shapes are given higher priority than partisan fairness and competitiveness. It would also increase the percentage of wasted votes allowed in the calculation of minimum partisan fairness.

Amendment 1 (2018) required legislators and legislative employees to wait two years after the conclusion of the legislative session in which the legislator or employee served to become a paid lobbyist and prohibited legislators and legislative employees from accepting gifts from paid lobbyists in excess of $5. Amendment 3 would change this amount to $0. 

Amendment 3 would also lower the campaign contribution limit for state Senate campaigns from $2,500, which was set by Amendment 1, to $2,400.

State Senator Dan Hegeman (R), the sponsor of the amendment, said, “It is my great concern that our communities will find their voices diminished in Jefferson City (in the state Legislature), because of the liberal think tank ideas contained in the criteria of Amendment 1, passed in 2018.” 

The campaign in support of Amendment 3 is sponsored by Fair Missouri, which has reported $246,669 in contributions.

Clean Missouri is registered in opposition to the measure and reported $4.1 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee were the National Education Association ($1.5 million), the North Fund ($1.2 million), and the Action Now Initiative ($1.1 million).

In a letter to the state auditor, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) said, “[Amendment 3] would have a significant fiscal impact on local governments and small businesses in Missouri if the population standard for state legislative maps is changed from using total population to a citizen voting-age population or eligible voter standard. … We should expect a significant impact on Missouri’s small businesses, the local economy, local sales taxes, local lodging taxes, and state income taxes if maps are drawn in a discriminatory way that disproportionately impacts Missourians of color.”

Missouri modified its absentee/mail-in voting procedures for the November 3 election to allow any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot (subject to a notarization requirement) in the general election. Requests to vote absentee must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 21. Absentee ballots must be received by election authorities by 7:00 p.m. on November 3. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on election day.

Additional reading:

Missouri Amendment 1, State Executive Term Limits Amendment (2020)

Missouri Amendment 3, Redistricting Process and Criteria, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Amendment (2020)



Mark Zuckerberg donated $500,000 to campaign supporting Oregon Measure 110, the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative 

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Mark Zuckerberg’s public advocacy fund, donated $500,000 to More Treatment for a Better Oregon: Yes on 110, the campaign sponsoring Measure 110.

Oregon Measure 110 would make personal non-commercial possession of a controlled substance no more than a Class E violation (max fine of $100 fine) and establish a drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded in part by the state’s marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings.

The initiative is the first ballot measure Zuckerberg has contributed to in Oregon. In 2020, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative contributed $6.3 million to support California Proposition 15, which would require commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market value. CZI also contributed $1 million to the No on Proposition 20 campaign. California Proposition 20 would make changes to policies related to criminal sentencing charges, prison release, and DNA collection.

More Treatment for a Better Oregon reported $2 million in contributions according to the latest campaign finance reports filed on October 5.

There were three other committees registered in support of the measure—IP 44, A More Humane Approach – Yes on 110 Committee, and Washington County Justice Initiative PAC. Together, they reported $2.5 million in contributions. Drug Policy Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded marijuana legalization and drug decriminalization efforts in other states, contributed $3.4 million to the campaigns supporting the initiative.

Theshia Naidoo, the managing director of criminal justice law and policy at Drug Policy Action, said, “Oregonians have always been early adopters of drug policies that shift the emphasis towards health and away from punishment. The idea behind this groundbreaking effort is simple: people suffering from addiction need help, not criminal punishments. Instead of arresting and jailing people for using drugs, the measure would fund a range of services to help people get their lives back on track.”

The opposition campaign, No on Measure 110, reported over $55,000 in contributions. Oregon Council for Behavioral Health recently came out in opposition to the measure. They argued, “The measure provides no new funding, destroys pathways to treatment and recovery, and fails to address racial injustice in our systems by decriminalizing a narrow set of charges without resource for larger system innovation. … OCBH supports the supporters’ goal of correcting inherent injustice and decriminalizing drug charges, but this measure falls short of addressing the wide-ranging impacts on access to treatment and recovery.”

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that Oregon spent $472 million on substance abuse treatment services and $1.95 billion on corrections from 2017 to 2019.

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