CategoryBallot measures

Voters in New Jersey approve statewide measure to extend veterans’ property tax deductions to continuing care retirement communities

New Jersey residents voted to extend the $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living there and require the retirement centers to pass the value of the deduction on to veterans in the form of credits or payments. The vote was 76% to 24%.
As of 2019, veterans who were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances were eligible to receive a $250 deduction from their property tax bill in New Jersey. Surviving spouses of honorably discharged veterans who are deceased or soldiers who died on active duty during war could also claim the deduction.
Question 1 extends the $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living there. The ballot measure requires the continuing care retirement center to provide the $250 to an eligible veteran, or an eligible surviving spouse of a veteran or soldier, as a payment or credit. Continuing care retirement centers that are tax-exempt are ineligible to receive the deductions under the measure.

74% of PA voters voted in favor of Marsy’s Law, though election results cannot be certified pending a court ruling

A majority of Pennsylvania voters voted in favor of a measure to add specific rights of crime victims, together known as a Marsy’s Law, to the Pennsylvania Constitution. The vote was 74% to 26%.
On October 30, 2019, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court enjoined Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar from counting or certifying election results. The preliminary injunction resulted from a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters that argues the measure violates the state’s separate vote requirement by combining multiple changes to the constitution into one measure. Wanda Murren, communications director of the state department, said the court’s order “does not prohibit the counties from following any of their normal election procedures,” which means results were available on election night.
A similar situation happened with a Marsy’s Law in Kentucky last year. Courts ruled that the ballot language for the Kentucky amendment did not sufficiently inform voters and that the amendment was invalid. The preliminary ruling happened too late to take the measure off the ballot, so voters saw it on the ballot, and 63% approved it. The measure was in limbo until seven months later when the Kentucky Supreme Court give the final ruling, officially invalidating the measure.
Montana’s 2016 Marsy’s Law amendment was also struck down by a post-election ruling. In that case, the ruling was based on the state’s separate vote requirement
As of 2019, voters in 12 states had approved a ballot measure for Marsy’s Law. The first was in California in 2008. Between 2008 and 2012, voters had approved Marsy’s Law in Illinois (2014), Montana (2016), North Dakota (2016), South Dakota (2016), Ohio (2017), Florida (2018), Georgia (2018), Kentucky (2018), Nevada (2018), North Carolina (2018), and Oklahoma (2018). Wisconsin is scheduled to vote on Marsy’s Law on April 7, 2020. Ballotpedia identified $102.26 million in total contributions to the support campaigns for the 12 Marsy’s Law ballot measures that were on ballots between 2008 and 2018. Henry Nicholas, the co-founder of Broadcom Corp., and the organization Marsy’s Law for All provided 97 percent—about 99.3 million—of the total contributions. Marsy’s Law is named after Henry Nicholas’ sister, who was murdered in 1983.

Jersey City voters approve measure authorizing regulations on short-term rental properties

Jersey City voters approved Question 1, authorizing certain regulations and restrictions on short- term rental properties. The vote was 69% in favor to 31% against.
The approval of Jersey City Question 1 enacted certain restrictions and regulations on renting out short-term rental properties (such as Airbnb and VRBO), including the following:
  • limitations on what properties/units are eligible for use as short-term rentals, including certain owner-occupation and zoning requirements;
  • a prohibition on using a property as a short-term rental for more than a total of 60 nights per year if the owner/operator is not present;
  • a prohibition on using property with rental rates controlled by government regulations or other rent control limitations in place;
  • rules for short term rental permits and permit fees of an initial $250 application fee and $200 per year for renewal after that; and
  • other regulations and restrictions.
The measure was put on the ballot through a successful referendum petition effort backed by opponents of Ordinance 19-077, which the Municipal Council of the City of Jersey City voted into law on June 25, 2019. Vote Yes JC, sponsored by the Share Better Education Fund, led the campaign in support of a yes vote Question 1. Keep Our Homes JC led petition effort to put the measure on the ballot and the campaign supporting a no vote on Question 1. Airbnb supported a no vote on the question while the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) and the New York Hotel Trades Council (NYHTC) supported a yes vote.

Kansas voters vote to end state practice of adjusting census population regarding military personnel and students

Kansas voters approved a constitutional amendment ending the state’s practice of adjusting the U.S. Census population regarding military personnel and students when redistricting the Kansas State Legislature. The vote was 60% to 40%.
Going into the election, the Kansas Constitution required the state legislature to apportion state legislative districts based on the most recent U.S. Census, with an adjustment to (1) exclude nonresident military personnel stationed in Kansas and nonresident students and (2) include resident military personnel and resident students in the district of their permanent residence. The ballot measure eliminated the requirement to adjust the census population for state legislative apportionment.
Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R), who supported the ballot measure, said the state would spend an estimated $834,000 to adjust the 2020 U.S. Census. He said the state would have needed to hire a private consultant for the adjustment, who would contact military personnel and students and ask them about their permanent residencies. In 2011, Secretary of State Kris Kobach reported that the adjustment cost $198,928.
Following the 2010 U.S. Census, the state adjusted the population for legislative redistricting. Overall, 15,577 state residents were counted in different counties, and 13,673 people were eliminated from the count. Riley County, Douglas County, and Ellis County saw the largest percentage decreases in population due to the adjustment. Riley County included the U.S. Army’s Fort Riley and Kansas State University. Douglas County included the University of Kansas. Ellis County included Fort Hays State University and North Central Kansas Technical College.

Boise voters approve Propositions 1 and 2 requiring voter approval for certain levels of spending on library and sports park developments

Boise voters approved Proposition 1, with a margin of 69% in favor and 31% opposed, and Proposition 2, with a margin of 75% in favor and 25% opposed. Proposition 1 requires voter approval before the city allocates $25 million or more on library development. Proposition 2 requires majority voter approval in a future election before spending more than $5 million on sports stadium development projects. The election results mean that Boise voters will have to decide in a future election, likely in March of 2020, on proposed spending for the renovation of Boise’s Main Library Campus and creation of the Boise Sports Park.
The estimated cost of the Main Library Campus project is $104 million, which exceeds the city’s budget of $85 million. The estimated cost of the Boise Sports Park is $40 million, which would be publicly and privately funded. Both propositions were placed on the ballot through a citizen initiative petition effort led by Boise Working Together.

Voters in Maine approve transportation bonds and question allowing disabled to use an alternative signature on initiative petitions

Voters in Maine approved both questions on their ballots. Question 1 authorized $105 million in bonds for transportation infrastructure projects. Question 2 amended the state constitution to allow for persons with physical disabilities to use alternative signatures to sign initiative petitions. The vote for both measures was 76% in favor and 24% against.
As of 2019, the Maine State Constitution required people to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures with their original signature. The state constitution did not have a similar requirement for candidate petitions.
In 2005, the Maine State Legislature passed a law allowing persons with physical disabilities to register to vote and sign candidate petitions using an alternative signature, defined as a signature stamp or having a registered voter sign the petition on the person’s behalf. Melissa Packard, the state director of elections, said, “it was determined that a constitutional amendment would be needed to authorize a similar process for direct initiative and people’s veto petitions.”

Groups submit signatures for two 2020 marijuana initiatives in South Dakota

On Monday, proponents of two marijuana initiatives in South Dakota submitted a combined 80,000 signatures to the Secretary of State.
One measure would amend the constitution to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana and would require the state legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. The measure was sponsored by former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson and is supported by the committee South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. Proponents reported submitting 50,000 signatures on November 4, 2019. To qualify for the ballot, 33,921 valid signatures are required.
South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is also supporting a measure that would amend state statute to provide for a medical marijuana program. The measure was sponsored by Melissa Mentele, executive director of New Approach South Dakota. Proponents reported submitting 30,000 signatures on November 4, 2019. To qualify for the ballot, 16,961 valid signatures are required.
As of 2019, 11 states and the District of Columbia had legalized marijuana for recreational purposes; nine through statewide citizen initiatives, and two through bills approved by state legislatures and signed by governors. 33 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.
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Tucson voters reject sanctuary city initiative 71% to 29%

Tucson voters rejected a measure that would have made Tucson the first in the state with sanctuary city policies. Over 70% of voters rejected Proposition 205. The citizen initiative would have declared in city code that Tucson was a sanctuary city, restricted law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions, prohibited officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status, and prohibited city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.
The initiative was sponsored by Tucson Families Free & Together and supported by, among others, the state and county Democratic parties and the Arizona ACLU. Opponents of the measure included Gov. Doug Ducey (R), U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R), U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D), and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D).
In 2012, the Tucson City Council voted 6-1 to pass a resolution identifying Tucson as immigrant-welcoming and declaring the city’s opposition to provisions of Senate Bill 1070, a bill passed in 2010 that required law enforcement officers to determine the legal status of individuals who are arrested or detained.
Voters also rejected Proposition 409, a measure that would have increased the salaries of the mayor and city council members.
See also:

Boise, Idaho to vote on two ballot propositions on Tuesday

Voters in Boise, Idaho, will head to the polls on Tuesday to vote on two ballot propositions. Proposition 1 would require majority voter approval in a future election for the city to spend $25 million or more on a library development project. In 2018, Boise started plans for the renovation of the Main Library Campus. The plan for the project included space for an expanded library collection, fine arts and history exhibits, and event space. The estimated cost of the project was $104 million. Planning for the project is currently on hold until the election occurs.
Boise Public Library Foundation authored the official opposition arguments for the Boise Voter Guide. The Foundation referenced a third ballot question. The third ballot question, which would have asked voters to approve or reject the specific Maine Library Campus plan, was sponsored by Boise City Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg but ultimately was not put on the ballot. By the time the third question was abandoned, however, it was too late to amend the Boise Voter Guide language to remove reference to a third question.
Proposition 2 would require majority voter approval in a future election to spend $5 million or more on sports stadium development projects. The election will determine the future of the proposed Boise Sports Park—a several-acre development with a multi-use facility that would host sporting events, concerts, and festivals. In 2017, the city estimated the cost of the new Boise Sports Park at $40 million.
Both propositions were placed on the ballot through citizen initiative petitions sponsored by Boise Working Together.
Voters can register online or at their polling places on the day of the election. Polls will be open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on November 5.

Preview of the 141 Nov. 5 local ballot measures within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope

In 2019, Ballotpedia is covering 141 local measures in jurisdictions within 17 different states for the November 5 election. This includes all local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S, plus all local measures in North Carolina, all local measures in California. Ballotpedia is also covering the 32 Nov. 5 statewide ballot measures on ballots in seven states. Here is a summary of the ballot measures that voters will decide on November 5, 2019.
Ballotpedia is covering 11 local ballot measures in two cities—Tucson and Scottsdale—and five school districts in Maricopa and Pima counties. Tucson Proposition 205 would make Tucson the first city in Arizona to enact sanctuary city policies.
Voters in local jurisdictions in 13 different California counties will decide 45 local ballot measures. Voters in San Francisco will decide five measures, including Proposition C, which concerns the authorization and regulation of e-cigarettes, and Proposition F, which concerns campaign contributions and advertising disclaimers. Voters in Rancho Palos Verdes will decide Measure B, an initiative proposing an increase to the minimum wage for hospitality workers.
Ballotpedia is covering four measures on the ballot in Denver, two measures on the ballot in Colorado Springs, and countywide measures in Arapahoe County and Douglas County. There are also two statewide measures on the ballot.
Voters in Hialeah and St. Petersburg will decide eight local ballot measures.
Ballotpedia is covering two citizen initiatives on the ballot in Boise that would enact voter approval requirements for library and sports stadium development projects.
Ballotpedia is covering an advisory vote on the ballot in Boston concerning whether or not to change the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square.
Ballotpedia is covering five measures on the ballot in Kansas City. Four concern transferring park property out of the park system for school district or other use. Question 5 is a citizen initiative to rename Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to The Paseo Blvd.
New Jersey
Ballotpedia is covering a veto referendum on the ballot in Jersey City concerning restrictions and regulations on renting out short-term rental properties. There is also one statewide measure on the ballot in New Jersey.
New Mexico
Ballotpedia is covering 16 measures on the ballot in Albuquerque. Proposition 2 would make Albuquerque the second jurisdiction in the U.S. (after Seattle) to adopt government-disbursed vouchers, known as democracy dollars, that voters could contribute to candidates.
New York
Ballotpedia is covering the five proposed charter amendments combining 19 proposals on the ballot in New York City. Question 1 includes a proposal to establish ranked-choice voting for primary and special elections in the city. Question 2 contains five proposals concerning the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
North Carolina
Voters in local jurisdictions in seven different North Carolina counties will decide 11 local ballot measures.
Ballotpedia is covering 11 local measures on the November 2019 ballot in jurisdictions within four counties. These include citywide measures in Cleveland and Cincinnati, community college and school district measures, and countywide measures.
Ballotpedia is covering four local measures on the ballot in Portland, the Portland Metro area, and Portland Public Schools.
Voters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will decide three local ballot measures. There is also one statewide measure on the ballot.
Ballotpedia is covering eight local ballot measures on the ballot in jurisdictions within five counties. Irving, El Paso, Harris County, Arlington and Tarrant County, and Austin and Travis County fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope for 2019. There are also 10 statewide measures on the ballot.
Ballotpedia is covering one tax measure on the ballot in Vineyard.
Ballotpedia is covering one local measure on the ballot in King County on November 5, 2019. The measure concerns a property tax levy renewal to fund emergency medical services. There are also 15 statewide measures on the ballot.