Tagballot measure

Signatures submitted for abortion rights initiative in Michigan

On July 11, the campaign Reproductive Freedom for All submitted 753,759 signatures for the ballot initiative, which would appear on the ballot in Michigan this November.

In Michigan, the campaign Reproductive Freedom for All submitted 753,759 signatures for a ballot initiative related to abortion rights on July 11. At least 425,059 of the signatures need to be valid.

If enough signatures are verified, Michigan voters will decide on the initiative to create a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in November. The term reproductive freedom would be defined to include “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

The national ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan support the proposal, and are among the top donors to the Reproductive Freedom For All PAC. The ACLU gave $851,905 in both cash and in-kind contributions, while the ACLU Fund of MI and ACLU of Michigan gave $596,318.80 and $179,996.72 in total contributions, respectively.

“The vast majority of Michiganders know that abortion is healthcare: Michigan is on the right side of history as we lead the way with Reproductive Freedom for All and intend to ask Michigan voters on November 8 to protect abortion and reproductive rights in Michigan,” said Loren Khogali, executive director of ACLU of Michigan.

The group opposing the measure, Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, received $108,187.22 in total contributions, and said they will work to convince voters to oppose the measure.

“If they end up on the ballot, we look forward to convincing any of those signers to vote no,” said Christen Pollo of Citizens to Support Michigan Women and Children, “And we believe we will because even those who support abortion aren’t likely to support the things hidden in the amendment text.”

This year, there are currently four other abortion-related measures on the ballot for 2022:

  • California: Proposition 1 would 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.
  • Kansas: The measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. The amendment would also declare that the legislature has the power to pass laws regarding abortion.
  • Kentucky: The measure would amend the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions.
  • Montana: LR-131 would require medical care be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method. The ballot measure would establish a $50,000 fine and/or 20 years in prison as maximum penalties for violating the law.
  • Vermont: Proposal 5 would amend the Vermont Constitution to provide that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.”

If the initiative is certified for the ballot, it will join at least one other measure currently on the ballot – a constitutional amendment to change term limits requirements for state legislators and financial disclosure requirements for state executive and legislative officials.

Another campaign, Promote the Vote 2022, also submitted signatures on July 11 to qualify an initiative, which would make changes to voting policy in Michigan.

Additional reading:

Michigan 2022 ballot measures



Campaign in North Dakota submits signatures for marijuana legalization initiative

In North Dakota, a campaign behind a marijuana legalization initiative reported submitting 25,672 signatures on July 11, 2022. New Approach North Dakota Chairman Dave Owen said, “This signature drive showed us that, from Williston to Grand Forks, people all across our state are ready for responsible cannabis policy reform… We’re looking forward to all of our hard work paying off when we receive the official word that we’re on the ballot.” Of the signatures submitted, 15,582 signatures must be valid for the initiative to appear on the ballot in November.

Along with North Dakota, campaigns submitted signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the November ballot in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

The measure would legalize the personal use of cannabis for adults 21 and older and allow individuals possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three cannabis plants. The measure would require the Department of Health and Human Services, or another department or agency designated by the state legislature, to establish an adult-use cannabis program to regulate the production and distribution of adult-use marijuana by October 1, 2023. Under the measure, the department could license seven cultivation facilities and 18 cannabis retailers. Marijuana would be taxed at the state’s 5% sales tax rate.

David Owen was also the chairman of LegalizeND, the committee that sponsored a marijuana legalization initiative that voters rejected in 2018. Owen said that the biggest difference between Measure 3 of 2018 and this initiative is that “[this initiative] is restricted, regulated, controlled, legal marijuana. This is a marijuana program that is very, very similar to the one that passed the North Dakota State House.”

Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process.

In North Dakota, a total of 115 ballot measures appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered election years between 1986 and 2020. Fifty-seven ballot measures (49.57%) were approved, and 58 ballot measures (50.43%) were defeated.



Arizona state abortion rights initiative will not appear on the 2022 ballot

In Arizona, the campaign behind an initiative to provide a state constitutional right to abortion did not submit signatures on July 7, the signature deadline in the state. Because the campaign, Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom, did not collect enough signatures, the initiative will not appear on the ballot this November.

Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom reported collecting more than 175,000 signatures. The requirement was 356,467 valid signatures. The campaign issued a statement, saying supporters would work to get an initiative on the ballot in 2024.

“This is far from a failure,” the campaign statement read, “In only 61 days, more than 3,000 volunteers braved the summer heat to help collect more than 175,000 signatures – an average of 2,700 signatures per day, most of which came after the [Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center] ruling.”

Arizonans For Reproductive Freedom compared the signature drive in Arizona to a similar initiative effort in Michigan. In Arizona, a petition application wasn’t filed until May 16, 2022, which was after the Dobbs draft leak. “To put that in perspective, a campaign in Michigan qualified for this November’s ballot with 800,000 signatures – an effort that began two years ago.” Signatures are due in Michigan on Monday, July 11.

The measure would have amended the Arizona Constitution to provide that “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which would have been defined to include “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”

In Arizona, there are two existing statutes regarding abortion – one, passed in March 2022, that would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and one, adopted in 1901, that would prohibit abortions, except in cases to save a mother’s life.

Currently, there are five other abortion-related measures on the ballot for 2022:

  1. California: Proposition 1 would 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.
  2. Kansas: The measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. The amendment would also declare that the legislature has the power to pass laws regarding abortion.
  3. Kentucky: The measure would amend the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions.
  4. Montana: LR-131 which would require medical care be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method. The ballot measure would establish a $50,000 fine and/or 20 years in prison as maximum penalties for violating the law.
  5. Vermont: Proposal 5 would amend the Vermont Constitution to provide that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.”

Campaigns are collecting signatures for two other measures in 2022:

  1. Colorado: The initiative would prohibit abortion in Colorado. The signature deadline is August 8, 2022.
  2. Michigan: The initiative would add a provision to the state constitution that says, “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including a right to abortion. The signature deadline is July 11, 2022.

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Nebraska photo voter identification initiative submitted over 170,000 signatures 

The signature deadline for Nebraska ballot initiatives was July 7. Citizens for Voter ID, the campaign behind an initiative to require voter identification, submitted over 170,000 signatures. 

In Nebraska, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated constitutional amendment for the ballot is equal to 10% of registered voters as of the deadline for filing signatures. Because of the unique signature requirement based on registered voters, Nebraska is the only state where petition sponsors cannot know the exact number of signatures required until they are submitted. Nebraska law also features a distribution requirement providing that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of Nebraska’s 93 counties. As of July 1, the number of registered voters in Nebraska was 1,239,599, which means that the estimated number of required signatures is 123,960.

The initiative would amend the Nebraska Constitution to require a valid photo ID in order to vote. The amendment would leave the regulation of photographic identification up to the Nebraska State Legislature. Currently, voters do not need to present identification in order to vote in Nebraska. A voter may be asked for identification if the voter is a first-time registrant who mailed in an application and did not provide identification at that time.

Twenty states have active photo voter ID requirements. In 2018, North Carolina voters passed an amendment to require photo voter identification, but it was enjoined by a court.

The Nebraska initiative received the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts (R). “Showing ID when they go to vote, it’s one of the ways we can strengthen the integrity of our elections. It’s a great opportunity for the second house, the people of Nebraska, to be able to weigh in a way where the Legislature has not been able to get it passed,” Ricketts said.

The initiative is opposed by Civic Nebraska, Black Votes Matter, League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, and Nebraska NAACP. Civic Nebraska said, “The only thing we are certain these measures would do is to make it harder for eligible Nebraskans—especially young, low-income, rural, black and brown, and senior Nebraskans—to freely and fairly cast a ballot.”

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of seven initiatives were filed with an average of one making the ballot during each election cycle. 

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A California initiative to raise the minimum wage to $18 qualifies for the 2024 ballot

On July 7, the California Secretary of State announced that an initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage from $15 to $18 by 2026 for all employers had qualified for the 2024 ballot after missing the deadline to make the ballot in 2022.

In California, initiative petition signature verification must be completed 131 days before the election. The deadline for the 2022 ballot was June 30. Yes on California Living Wage Act, the campaign behind the initiative, filed over 1 million signatures on May 12. On July 7, the final random sample count projected that at least 738,449 signatures were valid, which exceeded the 623,212 signatures required.

The ballot initiative would increase the state minimum wage over several years until it reaches $18 by 2026 for all employers. The state last increased the minimum wage in 2016 with the passage of Senate Bill 3, which required an annual increase in the minimum wage until the amount reaches $15 on January 1, 2022, for employers with 26 workers or more and January 1, 2023, for employers with 25 workers or less. Like SB 3, the ballot initiative would increase the minimum wage at different speeds depending on whether an employer has 26 or more workers or 25 or fewer workers. For employers with 26 or more workers, the minimum wage would reach $18 on January 1, 2025. For employers with 25 or fewer workers, the minimum wage would reach $18 on January 1, 2026. Also like SB 3, the minimum wage would be tied to inflation after reaching $18.

Joe Sanberg, who filed the ballot initiative, said, “The time is now, because the pandemic has heightened the people’s understanding of the realities so many Californians face. Cost of living is rising faster and faster… but wages haven’t increased commensurately.” The Working Hero Action for the Living Wage Act PAC, the committee formed to fund the initiative, received $10.88 million in contributions. Joseph Sanberg provided 99.98% of the PAC’s total contributions received.

The initiative has received opposition from the state’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. John Kabateck, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “Market, not politicians and bureaucrats, ought to be dictating the financial growth and success of working men and women in California. Let the market dictate this and let’s stop sending the message that mediocrity is a pathway to professional success in California.”

Nine states have passed laws or ballot measures increasing their statewide minimum wage rates incrementally to $15 per hour. California was the first of those states to reach $15 per hour in 2022.

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2022 will feature the most abortion-related ballot measures on record; next states to watch for abortion measures are Michigan and Colorado

There will be at least five abortion-related ballot measures in 2022, including the first two ballot measures to provide explicit state constitutional rights related to abortion. On June 27, the California State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment, bringing the total to five – the most on record for a single year. Before 2022, the highest number was four measures in 1986. Since 1970, voters have decided on 47 abortion-related ballot measures. 

The next signature deadlines to watch are July 11 in Michigan and August 8 in Colorado, where campaigns are collecting signatures for abortion-related ballot measures. On July 7, an initiative campaign in Arizona did not submit signatures.

Of the five measures on the ballot, two are related to providing constitutional rights, two are related to how constitutional language can be interpreted regarding abortion, and one is related to practitioner requirements. The following are summaries of the certified ballot measures:

California: Proposition 1 would 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. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Senate President Toni Atkins (D-39), and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-63) called for the amendment on May 2, following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center draft opinion being leaked.

Kansas: On the ballot for August 2, the measure would amend the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. The amendment would also declare that the legislature has the power to pass laws regarding abortion. Sponsors introduced the amendment in response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019), which held that the Kansas Bill of Rights provided a right to an abortion.

Kentucky: Like the proposal in Kansas, the measure would amend the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortions. Unlike Kansas, there has not been a state court ruling providing for a state constitutional right to abortion. On June 27, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and others filed a lawsuit to block the state from enforcing two statutes prohibiting or restricting abortion. Plaintiffs are arguing that the Kentucky Constitution “protects the right of a pregnant individual to access abortion.”

Montana: LR-131 would provide in state law that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons. The ballot measure would also require medical care to be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method.

Vermont: Proposal 5 would amend the Vermont Constitution to provide that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” The process to get Proposal 5 on the ballot started in 2019. Eileen Sullivan, communications director for the Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund, said, “Justice [Anthony] Kennedy’s retirement prompted action in Vermont, so that these rights in Vermont would be protected no matter what happens in Washington, D.C.”

There could be two more citizen-initiated ballot measures—one in Colorado, and one in Michigan—related to abortion this year: 

Colorado: The initiative would prohibit abortion in Colorado, where the procedure is currently legal. Colorado Life Initiative, which is backing the proposal, reported collecting three-quarters of the required signatures on June 20. At least 124,632 signatures are required. The deadline is August 8.

Michigan: The initiative would add a provision to the state constitution that says, “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including a right to abortion. Reproductive Freedom for All, the campaign supporting the initiative, reported that about 800,000 had been collected. Signatures are due on July 11. At least 425,059 need to be valid.

There were several citizen-initiated measures and legislative proposals that did not make the ballot. In Arizona, a campaign filed an initiative to provide, in the Arizona Constitution, that “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom.” The campaign launched on May 16, giving supporters 61 days to collect 356,467 valid signatures. Signatures were due on July 7, and the campaign reported gathering 175,000.

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Campaign behind a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in Nebraska submits signatures

On July 7, Raise the Wage Nebraska, the campaign behind a ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026, submitted over 152,00 signatures to the secretary of state. Currently, the minimum wage is $9 per hour.

In Nebraska, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 7% of registered voters as of the deadline for filing signatures. Because of the unique signature requirement based on registered voters, Nebraska is also the only state where petition sponsors cannot know the exact number of signatures required until they are submitted. Nebraska law also features a distribution requirement mandating that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

As of July 1, 2022, Nebraska had 1,239,599 registered voters, which would make the signature requirement 86,772.

The initiative would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage according to the following schedule:

  1. $10.50 on January 1, 2023;
  2. $12.00 on January 1, 2024;
  3. $13.50 on January 1, 2025; and
  4. $15.00 on January 1, 2026.

Every year after 2026, the minimum wage would be adjusted by the increase in the cost of living. 

In 2014, Nebraskans voted to increase the minimum wage incrementally to $9 by 2016. The measure was approved by 59.47% of voters.

The 2022 initiative has received support from State Senator Megan Hunt (D), Senator Terrell McKinney (D), the ACLU of Nebraska, Heartland Worker Center, NAACP Lincoln Branch, Nebraska State AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska.

Nine states have passed laws or ballot measures increasing their statewide minimum wage rates incrementally to $15 per hour. California is the first of those states to reach $15 per hour in 2022.

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Two Massachusetts ballot initiatives filed a second round of signatures for a spot on the November ballot

The Massachusetts Secretary of State reported on July 7 that two ballot initiatives had filed a second round of signatures on July 6. 

One initiative would incrementally change the number of retail alcohol licenses an establishment could own from no more than 12 in 2023 to no more than 18 by 2031. It would also prohibit in-store automated and self-checkout sales of alcohol. The initiative is sponsored by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association.

The other proposal would set the medical loss ratio for dental plans at 83% and require the insurer to refund the excess premium to its covered individuals and covered groups. The Committee on Dental Insurance Quality is leading the campaign in support of the initiative. Daisy Kumar, a registered nurse and founding member of the ballot question committee, said, “We do not expect dental insurance companies to waste our premiums by overpaying officers, having giant, wasteful commissions, sneaking payments to affiliates or gifts to parent companies that just add another layer of waste. Our insurance payments are not meant to be gifts to dental insurance companies. They are meant to help families like mine and yours.” The Committee to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care, which opposes the measure, said, “The proponents of this ballot question are not being straight with the voters. What they aren’t telling you is that their anti-consumer proposal will increase costs for Massachusetts families and employers… and can result in thousands of residents being denied access to much-needed dental care.”

The process for initiating state statutes in Massachusetts is indirect, which means the legislature has a chance to approve initiatives with successful petitions directly without the measure going to the voters. The first round of signatures equal to 3% of the votes cast for governor is required to put an initiative before the legislature. The second round of signatures equal to 0.5% of the votes cast for governor in the last election is required to put the measure on the ballot if the legislature rejects or declines to act on a proposed initiated statute. 

Both initiatives submitted the required 3% of signatures in December 2021 and were presented to the state legislature in early 2022. Since the state legislature did not act on the initiatives by May 4, the initiatives were cleared to gather a second round of 13,374 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state said it would take about a week for the signatures to be processed.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of 29 ballot initiatives were filed for each election cycle in Massachusetts, with an average of three making the ballot. For 2022, 20 ballot initiatives were filed, including one veto referendum. 

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Initiative to provide funding for pandemic detection and prevention programs qualifies for the California ballot in 2024

On July 5, the California Secretary of State reported that the initiative related to pandemic prevention programs, which initially targeted the 2022 ballot, had qualified for the 2024 ballot. The campaign submitted over 1.5 million signatures on May 5. The signature verification deadline was July 1—one day later than the June 30 deadline for the 2022 ballot. The final random sample count concluded that over 1.1 million signatures were valid surpassing the 997,139 signatures required to qualify.

The initiative would authorize an additional income tax at a rate of 0.75% on income over $5 million for a 10-year period. Revenue generated by the new tax would be deposited into the following newly established funds:

  • 25% of revenues to the Community Pandemic Response Fund;
  • 25% of revenues to the School Disease Spread Prevention Fund; and
  • 50% of revenues to the California Institute for Pandemic Prevention Fund.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that the state revenues from the tax would range from $500 million to $1.5 billion annually. The initiative contains a provision that would make revenue exempt from the state appropriations limit, also known as the Gann Limit. The Gann Limit prohibits state government and local governments from spending revenue in excess of per-person government spending in fiscal year 1978-1979, with an adjustment for changes in the cost of living and population.

In addition to establishing the funds, the initiative would create the California Institute for Pandemic Prevention tasked with awarding grants related to the development and implementation of a pandemic detection system.

The initiative has received endorsements from State Asm. Matt Haney (D), County Health Executives Association of California, and UNITE HERE Local 11. Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs Andrew C. Weber said, “We cannot afford another pandemic. Yet pandemic prevention efforts remain woefully underfunded. This initiative will fix that— it will prevent future pandemics by making critical investments in technology to create an early-warning system to detect and defeat biological threats.”

Californians Against Pandemics, the committee behind the initiative, reported over $18.5 million in contributions. The top donors were Guarding Against Pandemics ($12 million) and Open Philanthropy Action Fund ($6.5 million).

The initiative is opposed by Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Teachers Association.

In 2022, statewide ballots will feature six ballot measures in five states related to the coronavirus pandemic and related regulations. The measures concern the timeframe for changing election laws, the legislature’s power to convene a special session and change its adjournment date, government infringement on freedom of religion, and appropriation limit increases during emergencies.

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Oregon voters will decide on an initiative to disqualify legislators from re-election for legislative absenteeism, including walkouts

In November, Oregon voters will decide on an initiative to disqualify legislators from re-election if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse.

On July 5, the Oregon Secretary of State announced that the initiative had received enough signatures to make the ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment needed 149,360 valid signatures (8% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election). On May 27, 2022, the campaign filed 184,680 signatures for verification. The secretary of state reported that 155,343 signatures were valid.

Currently, the state constitution authorizes legislative chambers to punish disorderly conduct, including legislative absenteeism, with a two-thirds supermajority vote. Punishment may include the expulsion of a member.

One committee, Legislative Accountability 1, is registered in support of the initiative. As of July 5, it had reported over $1.5 million in contributions.

The initiative has received endorsements from Gov. Kate Brown (D), AFSCME Council 75, the Oregon Education Association, and SEIU Local 503. AFSCME Council 75 Associate Director Joe Baessler said, “Oregonians just understand it on its face. You don’t show up for work without a reason and you lose your job like anyone else. That makes it super popular and fair, and so it will pass.”

Several times in recent decades, members of a minority party left the state capitol or the state entirely to prevent the passage of legislation. State legislatures require a specific number of members to be present in order to conduct official business, such as debating or voting on legislation. Ballotpedia tracked five noteworthy legislative walkouts in Oregon, where legislators left the state for at least a week or received significant national media attention. The legislative walkouts occurred in 2001, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Four of the five involved Republicans walking out during Democratic control of the state legislature, and one involved the inverse—Democrats walking out during a Republican-controlled state legislature.

The deadline to file signatures for ballot initiatives in Oregon is July 8. Sixty initiatives were filed targeting the 2022 ballot. The legislative walkout amendment is the first initiative to qualify for the ballot. 

Oregon voters will also be deciding on two legislative referrals. One would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the state constitution, and the other would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

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