CategoryBallot measures

Ballotpedia identifies 20 local police-related ballot measures decided Nov. 3

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, cities and counties introduced police-related measures. Ballotpedia tracked 20 such measures that appeared on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

All 20 measures were approved or were ahead pending the count of remaining ballots. Note: All vote counts were as of 6:00 p.m. EST on Nov. 11.

Cities and counties that approved these police-related issues in November included:

○ Los Angeles County, California

○ Oakland, California

○ San Diego, California

○ San Francisco, California

○ San Jose, California

○ Sonoma County, California

○ DuPage County, Illinois

○ Akron, Ohio

○ Columbus, Ohio

○ Portland, Oregon

○ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

○ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

○ Kyle, Texas

○ King County, Washington

Three notable measures among the 20 were:

Los Angeles County Measure J – This measure requires that no less than 10% of the county’s general fund be appropriated to community programs and alternatives to incarceration. It prohibited the use of those funds for incarceration or law enforcement purposes.

Columbus Issue 2 – This measure created the Civilian Police Review Board to investigate alleged police misconduct, subpoena testimony and evidence during the investigations, make recommendations to the Division of Police, and appoint and manage the new position of Inspector General for the Division of Police. Prior to Nov. 2020, Columbus did not have a police oversight board or commission or an equivalent agency. According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, 20 of the 25 largest city police departments in the U.S. had an oversight board or commission in place as of the beginning of 2020.

Portland Measure 26-217 – This measure amended the city charter to establish a new police oversight board to replace the existing police review board. It allows the new board to subpoena witnesses, request police documents and evidence to investigate complaints made against the Portland Police Bureau, and impose disciplinary actions up to termination of law enforcement professionals. It also authorizes the board to recommend policing policy to the Portland Police Bureau and Portland City Council.



Puerto Ricans approve non-binding statehood referendum

Voters in Puerto Rico approved a non-binding referendum that asked: “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted into the Union as a state?” The “Yes” side received 623,053 or 52.3% as of votes recorded on November 9. 

While the ballot measure itself cannot compel the U.S. Congress to act on the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status, the ballot measure contained a provision authorizing the governor to appoint a seven-member commission to represent Puerto Rico in matters and negotiations related to achieving statehood. The commission will meet to develop a transition plan, which the governor can approve or reject, and present the plan to Congress and the President.

This year’s ballot measure is the sixth in Puerto Rico’s history on the territory’s political status, and it was the first one to give voters a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option on a single potential status.



33 committees supporting and opposing Colorado’s 11 November ballot measures raised over $59 million, spent over $57 million

Thirty-three committees registered to support and oppose the eleven measures that appeared on the Nov. 3 ballot in Colorado.

The 33 committees raised $59,164,321.52 and spent $57,392,791.82 according to reports due on November 2 that covered election information through October 28. The next regular reports are due on December 3.

Eight of these 11 measures on the ballot were placed on the ballot through citizen petition drives. These measures concern issues like wolf reintroduction, abortion restrictions, citizenship requirements for voting, a national popular vote, paid medical leave, gambling and taxes. The other three measures were referred to the ballot by the legislature.

The campaigns that raised the most money won in all cases — except Proposition 116 to decrease the state income tax rate, where supporters raised $1.55 million and opponents raised more than double that amount, though that measure was approved by Colorado voters.

Three Colorado ballot measures (Amendment C concerning charitable bingo, Proposition 114 concerning wolves and Proposition 117 concerning state enterprises) were too close to call as of Friday afternoon.

The measure with the highest amount of contributions was Proposition 115, which would have prohibited abortions after 22 weeks of gestational age.
This measure was defeated. Opponents of Proposition 115 raised over $9.5 million, while the proposition’s supporters raised nearly $690,000.

The other top most expensive measures in Colorado in 2020 were:

  • Proposition 118 to create a state-run paid medical and family leave program, which was (approved):
    • Support — $8,918,452.11
    • Opposition — $785,423.2
  • Proposition EE to create a tobacco and vaping products tax to fund health and education programs (approved):
    • Support — $4,711,452.39
    • Opposition — $4,410,902.45
  • Amendment B to repeal the Gallagher Amendment and freeze current property tax rates (approved):
    • Support — $7,311,344.10
    • Opposition — $722,140.10

So far in 2020, Ballotpedia has tracked $1.18 billion in contributions to committees supporting or opposing the 129 statewide measures in 2020. Colorado currently ranks fourth among states with the highest ballot measure campaign contributions, behind California ($739.0 million), Illinois ($121.2 million) and Massachusetts ($61.6 million). These numbers and the total dollar-amount will continue to grow based on post-election campaign finance reports.

The most expensive ballot measure in 2020 was California Proposition 22 concerning app-based drivers and relevant labor policies. A total of $223 million was spent on the measure ($203 million by supporters and $20 million by opponents). The measure was approved.

In 2018, Ballotpedia tracked $1.19 billion in contributions to the ballot measure campaigns supporting and opposing the 167 certified 2018 measures. Campaigns supporting and opposing the 13 statewide ballot measures on the 2018 ballot in Colorado raised $70.4 million, making Colorado the state with the sixth-highest ballot measure campaign contributions in 2018. In the Ballotpedia tracking, California ballot measures were first at $369 million in contributions.

Additional reading:



Notable ballot measure results following the Nov. 3 elections

As of 10:50 AM Eastern Time on Nov. 4, Ballotpedia had called 82 statewide ballot measures, of which 65 were approved and 17 were defeated. The remaining 38 remained uncalled.

Here are some notable results:

Voters approved changes to state drug and criminal justice policies in several states. In Oregon, two ballot measures—Measure 109 and Measure 110—were approved. Measure 109 created a program for administering psilocybin products, such as psilocybin-producing mushrooms and fungi. Measure 110 decriminalized Schedule I-IV controlled substances, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, voters approved ballot measures to legalize marijuana. Mississippi, along with South Dakota, also approved medical marijuana programs. Voters in Oklahoma rejected a ballot initiative, State Question 805, that would have prohibited the use of a person’s past non-violent felony convictions to impose a greater (enhanced) sentence when sentencing a person convicted of a non-violent felony.

In California, voters approved Proposition 17, which expanded the right to vote to people on parole for felony convictions. In Alabama, Colorado, and Florida, constitutional amendments were approved to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote. 

Abortion was on the ballot in Colorado and Louisiana. Colorado Proposition 115, which would have prohibited abortion after a fetus reaches 22-weeks gestational age, was defeated. Louisiana Amendment 1 was approved, adding language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

On election policy issues, both Florida Amendment 3 and Massachusetts Question 2 were defeated. Florida Amendment 3 would have created a top-two primary system, and Massachusetts Question 2 would have adopted ranked-choice voting.

In Colorado, voters approved Amendment B, which repealed the Gallagher Amendment. Colorado Proposition 116 decreased the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55% for individuals, estates, trusts, and foreign and domestic C corporations operating. Colorado Proposition 118 established a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado to provide 12 weeks (up to 16 weeks in certain cases) of paid leave (with a maximum benefit of $1,100 per week) funded through a payroll tax to be paid for by employers and employees in a 50/50 split.

In Mississippi, voters approved a new state flag after the state got rid of the older flag that featured the Confederate battle flag. The new flag features a Southern magnolia flower and the phrase ‘In God We Trust’.

In California, three of this year’s most expensive ballot measures—Propositions 21, 22, and 23—were decided. Proposition 21, which would have expanded the ability of local governments to enact rent control, was defeated. Proposition 23, which would have placed certain regulations on dialysis clinics, was defeated. Proposition 22—the most expensive measure in California history—was approved. Proposition 22, backed by Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Postmates, and Instacart, defined app-based drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents. Therefore, the ballot measure overrode Assembly Bill 5, signed in September 2019, on the question of whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors.

Some notable measures that remained uncalled include Alaska’s ranked-choice voting measure, California’s split roll tax initiative , and Colorado’s gray wolf reintroduction initiative.



Illinois voters reject constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax

Illinois voters rejected a constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax by a vote of 55% against to 45% in favor.  

The ballot measure would have repealed the state’s constitutional requirement that the state’s personal income tax is a flat rate across income. Instead, the ballot measure would have allowed the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax.

More than $121 million was raised by supporters and opponents of the measure. Supporters raised $60.33 million, including $56.5 million from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Opponents raised $60.86 million, including $53.8 million from Citadel CEO Kenneth C. Griffin.

This measure was the most expensive of 2020 outside of California.



Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota pass ballot measures to legalize marijuana

Ballot measures to legalize marijuana were passed by voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, bringing the total number of states with laws providing for legal marijuana to 15. 

Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota are the only states besides Alaska that voted for Republican presidential candidates from 2000 to 2016 and that have now voted to legalize recreational marijuana. North Dakota, which also voted for Republican presidential candidates from 2000 to 2016, rejected a recreational marijuana ballot measure in 2018.

As of 8:00 AM ET, the results for this year’s recreational or personal use marijuana measures is as follows:

  • Arizona Proposition 207: 59.8% – 40.02%
  • Montana Initiative 118: 57.7% – 42.3%
  • Montana Initiative 190: 56.6% – 43.4%
  • New Jersey: 66.9% – 33.1%
  • South Dakota: 53.4% – 46.6%


Nov. 4 ballot measure update

As of 7:30 Eastern on Nov. 4, Ballotpedia had called 93 statewide ballot measures, of which 72 were approved and 21 were defeated. The remaining 27 (out of the 120 total) remained uncalled.

Here are some notable measures that we called on Wednesday:

Illinois voters reject a constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax. The ballot measure would have repealed the state’s constitutional requirement that the state’s personal income tax is a flat rate across income. Instead, the ballot measure would have allowed the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax. More than $121 million was raised by supporters and opponents of the measure. Supporters raised $60.33 million, including $56.5 million from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Opponents raised $60.86 million, including $53.8 million from Citadel CEO Kenneth C. Griffin.

In California, voters rejected Proposition 16. Proposition 16 would have allowed the use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California by repealing Proposition 209, passed in 1996, from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education, and public contracting on account of a person’s or group’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

Voters also decided that California will not become the first state to end the use of cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trials. Proposition 25 was a veto referendum targeting the repeal of Senate Bill 10 (2019), which would have replaced cash bail with risk assessments.

Colorado voters approved Proposition 113 by a vote of 52% to 48% according to results available at 6:30 pm on Wednesday. Approval added Colorado (with its nine electoral votes) to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). NPVIC member states agree to give their electoral college votes to the presidential candidate that wins the national popular vote if the NPVIC goes into effect. The NPVIC was designed to go into effect if states representing at least 270 Electoral College votes join, guaranteeing the national popular vote winner is elected. 

Colorado is the first state in which voters decided whether the state should enter the NPVIC. Going into the election, 14 states and Washington, D.C., representing 187 Electoral College votes altogether, had adopted legislation to join the compact. The other 14 NPVIC member states joined the compact through bills signed by Democratic governors or, in Hawaii’s case, through an override of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s veto.

California Proposition 25 and Colorado Proposition 113 were two of 2020’s three statewide veto referendums on the Nov. 3 ballot. Veto referendums are measures put on the ballot through signature petitions targeting the repeal of bills recently passed by state legislatures. The last time a veto referendum appeared on the ballot for Colorado voters was in 1932.

The third veto referendum was Washington Referendum 90, which voters approved, upholding a bill requiring public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education for all students. 

On the three measures, California voters sided with petitioners and against the legislature. Colorado and Washington sided with their legislatures and against petitioners. 

Additional reading:



California voters reject affirmative action proposition

California voters rejected Proposition 16 by a vote of 56% to 44% according to results reported on Nov. 4 at 11:00 am. Proposition 16 would have allowed the use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California by repealing Proposition 209, passed in 1996, from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education, and public contracting on account of a person’s or group’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.



California voters reject veto referendum to end cash bail for detained suspects awaiting trial

Voters decided that California will not become the first state to end the use of cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trials. Proposition 25 was a veto referendum targeting the repeal of Senate Bill 10 (2019), which would have replaced cash bail with risk assessments. Voters rejected SB 10 by a vote of 55% to 44% according to results as of Nov. 4 at 11:00 am.



Colorado voters approve paid family and medical leave proposition

Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 in a vote of 57% to 43%. The measure establishes a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado to provide 12 weeks (up to 16 weeks in certain cases) of paid leave (with a maximum benefit of $1,100 per week) funded through a payroll tax to be paid for by employers and employees in a 50/50 split. While eight other states have paid leave programs, this was the first time voters weighed in on the issue through a statewide ballot measure.



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