Tagballot measures

Arizona voters will decide on an amendment to raise the ballot measure vote requirement this November

An amendment that will change the vote threshold requirement to pass ballot measures in Arizona will appear on the ballot this November.

On June 23, 2022, the Arizona State Senate voted 16-12 to put the measure on the ballot. All Republicans voted to pass the amendment, while all Democrats voted against it. The vote was also split down party lines when the Arizona House voted 31-28 to pass the amendment on February 22.

Currently, for a ballot measure to pass in Arizona, a simple majority (50.01%) is required. This amendment would change that requirement to a three-fifths supermajority (60%) for citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments.

The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Tim Dunn (R-13), who said that while the initiative process is valuable, there may be concerns with outside influences on elections. “I think it’s super important we have an initiative process and the ability for voters to have their will done,” Dunn said, “But I wanted to do this bill because we have become a petri dish for outside money to come in and, with a small amount of voters, get something to pass that is very hard to get changed in the future.”

Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-27) said that this measure will make it harder for initiatives to pass. “Make no mistake — it is designed to make it more difficult for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot,” he said. “No matter how it’s spinned, the primary purpose is to make it more difficult for Arizonans to have our voices heard when the legislature chooses not to act on popular policies that the public is asking for.”

Currently, four states require some sort of supermajority vote to approve a ballot measure–Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Florida. This year, Arkansas will also have a similar measure on the ballot that requires a constitutional amendment or ballot initiative to have a 60% vote. Voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C on June 7. Amendment C would have required a 60% vote that increase taxes or fees or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

There are currently eight measures on the Arizona ballot this November. The seven others are:

  • The In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure, which repeals provisions of Proposition 300 (2006) to allow in-state tuition for non-citizen residents.
  • The Voter Identification Requirements for Mail-In Ballots and In-Person Voting Measure, which requires date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminates two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting
  • The Sales Tax for Fire District Funding Measure, which creates a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund Arizona’s fire districts.
  • The Legislative Changes to Ballot Initiatives with Invalid Provisions Amendment, which allows the legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or invalid by the state or federal supreme court.
  • The Single-Subject Requirement for Ballot Initiatives Amendment, which requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject.
  • The Property Tax Exemptions Amendment, which allows the legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications
  • The Create the Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment, which creates the office of Lieutenant Governor

In Arizona, 73 legislatively referred constitutional amendments have been on the ballot between 1985 and 2020. Forty-four (60%) of them have been approved, and 29 (40%) of them have been defeated.

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Initiative to expand Medicaid to appear on South Dakota ballot

On June 9, 2022, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) announced that an initiated state statute to expand Medicaid will appear on the ballot for November 8. The initiative will appear on the ballot as Initiated Measure 28.

This is the third measure to appear on the South Dakota ballot this November, and the second measure that would expand Medicaid.

The campaign supporting the measure, Dakotans for Health, submitted 23,000 signatures on May 3, 2022. In South Dakota, a citizen initiated measure needs 16,961 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. The Secretary of State then verifies the signatures using a random sample method. Based on the random sample, 17,249 signatures were deemed valid.

If enacted, Initiated Measure 28 would expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

Another measure on the South Dakota ballot this November, Constitutional Amendment D, would also expand Medicaid in the same way. However, Constitutional Amendment D would amend the South Dakota Constitution, while Initiated Measure 28 would amend state statute.

Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D), who sponsored the initiative with Dakotans for Health, stated that he would like to see both measures pass.

“My hope is that both of these will pass and it will send a very strong message to the people in power, to our legislature, to the governor,” Weiland said.

Weiland says that he views Initiated Amendment 28 as a backup plan in case Constitutional Amendment D is not successful. 

“I think it’s really important that voters know that they’ve got two paths forward to pass Medicaid expansion this fall,” Weiland said, “A constitutional amendment, now an initiated law, and we’re encouraging them to vote for both.”

There three measures currently set to appear on the South Dakota ballot in November are:

  • Constitutional Amendment D, an amendment to the South Dakota constitution which would require South Dakota to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.
  • Initiated Measure 27, an initiated state statute which would legalize marijuana for people 21 years old and over.
  • Initiated Measure 28, an initiated state statute which would also expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

In South Dakota, 32 citizen-initiated measures have appeared on the ballot between 2000 and 2020. Twelve of them (37.5%) were approved and 20 of them (62.5%) were defeated.

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California initiative to require additional funding for K-12 art and music education qualifies for the ballot

On June 8, the California Secretary of State announced that an initiative to require additional funding for K-12 art and music education had qualified for the ballot. Californians for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools, the campaign sponsoring the initiative, submitted 1,030,221 signatures for verification in April. Counties conducted a random sample, and the secretary of state reported that 711,872 signatures were valid.

To qualify for the ballot, the campaign needed to submit 623,212 valid signatures, which is equal to 5% of the votes cast in the preceding gubernatorial election.

The proposed law would require a minimum source of annual funding for K-12 public schools, including charter schools, to fund arts education programs. The annual minimum amount established by the law would be equal to, at minimum, 1% of the total state and local revenues that local education agencies received under Proposition 98 (1988) during the prior fiscal year. The minimum under the proposed law would be in addition to the funding required by Proposition 98. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the ballot initiative would likely result in increased spending of $800 million to $1 billion each fiscal year.

Of the total amount guaranteed under the 1% additional minimum funding for arts education, 70% would be allocated to local education agencies based on their share of the statewide enrollment of K-12 students in the prior fiscal year. The other 30% would be allocated to local education agencies based on their share of economically disadvantaged students. The initiative defines an economically disadvantaged student as “a pupil who is eligible for the National School Lunch Program.”

The initiative has received endorsements from former Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District Austin Beutner, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D), the California Teachers Association, and several celebrities and musicians.

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive officer of the Universal Music Group, said, “Music education supports all education – it fosters reasoning and skills that are the building block for learning other subjects. This measure is critical not only for education and learning, but also to mental well-being and even the state’s economic health. Companies like ours, that moved to California to be at the nexus of entertainment and technology, rely on a skilled workforce to fill the high-quality jobs we create here. If enacted, this initiative will ensure a future job-ready workforce and secure California’s position as the global epicenter of music and the arts.”

Californians for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools has reported over $7 million in contributions. The top donors were Austin Beutner ($2.95 million), Steven A. Ballmer ($1.5 million), and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. ($1.05 million).

The initiative is opposed by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board. The board said, “This is a bad idea. Right now, state coffers are flush. But when revenue becomes tight in the future, the governor and Legislature need as much flexibility in the budget as possible to make sure that critical needs are funded. What happens if the student population plummets in future years while the number of disabled elderly people grows?”

Three other citizen-initiated measures have already qualified for the ballot. The initiatives concern in-person sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks, plastic waste reduction, and a ban on flavored tobacco sales. Another measure related to the cap on medical malpractice lawsuits qualified for the ballot but was removed after a legislative compromise was reached earlier this year.

There are five other initiatives that submitted signatures for verification. The initiatives concern online sports betting, an institute for pandemic detection, requirements for dialysis clinics, an income tax for zero-emissions vehicles and wildfire prevention, and a minimum wage increase.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of 87 initiatives were filed in California annually. The average number of initiatives certified during that period was 10.

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Missouri General Assembly refers two constitutional amendments to the ballot during 2022 session

The Missouri General Assembly passed resolutions for two constitutional amendments during the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned on May 13. Voters will decide on the amendments at the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. The two amendments join a third proposal that legislators referred to the ballot during the 2021 legislative session.

One of this session’s constitutional amendments received support from a majority of Democrats and Republicans. The second proposal, which addresses police funding, largely divided the parties. In Missouri, a simple majority vote is required in the General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and Republicans control both chambers. Constitutional amendments do not require the governor’s signature to be placed on the ballot.

The first constitutional amendment passed during the legislative session was House Joint Resolution 116 (HJR 116), which would provide the Missouri National Guard with its own department within the state government’s executive branch. Currently, the National Guard is housed within the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The vote was 126-2 in the House; the two “No” votes were Democrats. The vote was 32-0 in the Senate. The constitutional amendment was certified for the ballot on May 5.

On the final day of the legislative session, Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) was passed. The constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to increase the minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. The amendment was passed along with a bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase the funding requirement to 25%. 

The Senate passed SJR 38 on March 21. The vote was 23-10. Democrats were divided 1-9, and Republicans were divided 22-1. On May 13, the House voted 103-44 to pass the resolution. Democrats voted 3-41, and Republicans voted 100-3. 

In 2021, the General Assembly placed a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities. Voters will also decide a constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention. Two citizen-initiated measures could also appear on the ballot. One would adopt top-four ranked-choice voting for statewide, state legislative, and congressional offices. The other would legalize marijuana in Missouri. Campaigns for these initiatives submitted signatures by the May 8 deadline. 

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 (64%) were approved by voters, while 31 (36%) were defeated.

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Signatures submitted for ranked-choice voting initiative in Missouri

The Better Elections campaign submitted petition signatures on May 8 for a top-four ranked-choice voting initiative in Missouri. The campaign stated that more than 300,000 signatures were submitted. If enough signatures are verified, the measure will appear on the ballot in November for Missouri voters.

If implemented, this measure would change the electoral system for electing state executive, state legislative, and congressional officials starting Aug. 1, 2024. It would change the current partisan primary process to an open top-four primary, which is an election where all primary candidates are on the same ballot. For the general election, these top-four candidates would all appear on the ballot together. Voters would rank the four candidates rather than select only one candidate in the voting booth.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the initiative, which is also supported by the organizations Article IV and RepresentUs. Scott Charton, a spokesperson for the Better Elections PAC, stated that this measure “actually encourages more people to get involved in politics because it’s not as controlled by special interests and politicians”, and that “we’re giving voters more choices and more options.”

The Missouri Republican State Committee passed a resolution to oppose the ballot initiative. “[T]he proposed constitutional amendment to establish a ranked choice voting scheme effectively eliminates the fair and honest voting method of one person – one vote,” read the resolution.

Alaska is currently the only state to use a top-four primary for both state and congressional elections. California and Washington use top-two primaries, where the top two candidates who have received the most votes appear on the ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Alaska and Maine have implemented ranked-choice voting for certain state and congressional elections.

More than 300,000 signatures were collected for the initiative, according to the Better Elections PAC. The minimum requirement of verified signatures needed to appear on the ballot in Missouri is calculated by 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the eight state congressional districts. The smallest possible requirement is 171,592 signatures. Campaigns often aim to collect beyond the signature requirement to account for issues with some of the signatures submitted. Once these signatures are filed, they are sent to county election authorities to be verified.

In Missouri, 31 initiatives have appeared on the ballot from 1996 to 2020. Out of these 31 measures, 19 (59.4%) were approved while 13 (40.6%) were defeated.

Currently, there are three measures on the November 2022 ballot in Missouri, which are:

  • Amendment 1, which would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities
  • A Department of the National Guard Amendment, which would give the Missouri National Guard its own department
  • A constitutional convention question, which asks voters whether to hold a state constitutional convention. 

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Signature deadline for Missouri ballot initiatives is May 8

The deadline to file signatures for citizen-initiated measures in Missouri is May 8 at 5 p.m. Campaigns could file signatures for at least two ballot initiatives – one to legalize marijuana and one to adopt top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Both of the proposals are initiated constitutional amendments. The number of signatures required for initiated constitutional amendments is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest possible number of valid signatures required is 171,592; however, the actual requirement depends on which districts enough signatures were collected from.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. The proposal would establish top-four open primaries for statewide offices, the Missouri General Assembly, and Congress. The top four vote recipients for each office would advance to the general election, where RCV would be used.

Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years. 

The campaign Legal Missouri is backing the marijuana legalization ballot measure. The ballot initiative would legalize the possession, consumption, and sale of marijuana for personal use. The ballot initiative would also enact a 6% tax on marijuana sales and allow individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from incarceration and/or have their records expunged. Legal Missouri received $2.56 million through March 31. The largest contributors were the New Approach Advocacy Fund ($300,000), BD Health Ventures LLC ($250,000), and Good Day Farm Missouri LLC ($250,000). 

Individuals filed 91 citizen-initiated ballot measure petitions for 2022. Since 2016, the average number of initiatives filed in Missouri per election cycle is 248, and the average number of certified ballot initiatives is four. Between 1985 and 2020, voters approved 24 (60%) initiatives and rejected 16 (40%).



Campaign for ranked-choice voting ballot initiative in Missouri has raised millions ahead of signature deadline

The campaign supporting a ranked-choice voting (RCV) ballot initiative in Missouri has received millions in contributions in the weeks ahead of its signature deadline. The initiative would change the state’s primary system to utilize open primaries in which the top four vote recipients, regardless of partisan affiliations, advance to the general election.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from the organization Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.

The signature deadline is May 8. The number of signatures required is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest number of valid signatures required is 160,199; however, the actual requirement depends on from which districts enough signatures were collected.

Statewide RCV ballot measures have gone before voters in three states. Should this initiative make the ballot, Missouri would be the fourth state to vote on RCV measures. Maine adopted RCV through Question 5 in 2016 and Alaska adopted RCV through Ballot Measure 2 in 2020. Massachusetts voters rejected RCV through the defeat of Question 2 in 2020.



Omaha voters to decide six bond measures totaling $260 million on May 10; May 2 is the early voting ballot request deadline

In Omaha, Nebraska, voters will decide six bond questions totaling $260.3 million on May 10. The questions include a $120 million continuation of the street preservation bond issue that voters approved in 2020. The other five bond questions total $140.3 million and concern:

In 2020, Omaha voters approved a $200 million bond issue for the creation of a street preservation program and an additional property tax of $35 per $100,000 in assessed property value to repay the bonds. City officials estimated that by the end of 2022 the city will have spent $120 million of the $200 million authorized by voters in 2020.

In May 2018, Omaha voters approved five bond measures totaling $227.465 million that mirrored the purposes of five of the 2022 bond questions:

Nebraska voters will also see primary races for governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and state auditor, as well as school board, county, and municipal races on May 10. The deadline to request an early voting ballot by mail for the May 10 elections is May 2.

In 2022, Ballotpedia is covering local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and all state capitals, including those outside of the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia is also covering a selection of notable police-related and election-related measures outside of the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia is also covering all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures.

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Campaigns for ranked-choice voting ballot initiatives in Missouri, Nevada have raised millions ahead of signature deadlines

Campaigns that support ranked-choice voting (RCV) ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada have received millions in contributions in the weeks ahead of their signature deadlines. Both of the ballot initiatives would utilize open primaries in which the top candidates, regardless of partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. In Missouri, the top four vote recipients would advance to the general election. In Nevada, the top five vote recipients would advance. In Missouri and Nevada, voters would use ranked-choice voting to determine who among the four or five candidates wins the election. Despite the similarities between the two proposals, each one has different top donors. 

In Nevada, the PAC Nevada Voters First is leading the campaign and signature drive. The PAC received $2.26 million through March 31. Katherine Gehl, founder of the Institute for Political Innovation and former CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc., contributed $1 million. The Final Five Fund, Inc., which the Institute for Political Innovation lists as a 501(c)(4) counterpart, provided $488,000. The Nevada Association of Realtors and Strategic Horizons, a committee associated with the Clark County Education Association, each donated $250,000. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, contributed $100,000, as did the organization Unite America. 

In Missouri, the Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from the organization Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.

The signature deadline is May 8, 2022, in Missouri. The number of signatures required is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest number of valid signatures required is 160,199; however, the actual requirement depends on from which districts enough signatures were collected.

The deadline to file signatures for the top-five RCV ballot initiative in Nevada is June 21, 2022. At least 135,561 valid signatures are required for the initiative to make the ballot. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments, such as the initiative, need to be approved at two successive general elections. So voters would need to approve the ballot initiative in 2022 and 2024.

Statewide RCV ballot measures have gone before voters in three states. Should the ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada make the ballot, the two would be the fourth and fifth states to vote on RCV measures.

Maine became the first state to adopt RCV for some statewide elections when voters approved Question 5 in 2016. PACs raised $2.94 million to support Question 5. Action Now Initiative was the largest donor, providing $470,000.

Two states – Alaska and Massachusetts – voted on RCV ballot initiatives in Nov. 2020. Massachusetts Question 2 was defeated, with 54.78% of voters rejecting the proposal. The campaign behind Question 2 raised $10.18 million, including contributions from Action Now Initiative, Unite America, and Katherine Gehl. Voters in Alaska approved Ballot Measure 2, which received 50.55% of the vote. Ballot Measure 2 replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries and established ranked-choice voting for general elections. The campaign received $6.84 million, with Unite America and Action Now Initiative as top donors.

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Guilford County voters in North Carolina to decide on sales tax increase and school bond measure on May 17

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is asking voters to approve a 0.25% local sales tax increase and a $1.7 billion school bond measure at the May 17 primary election.

One measure would authorize the county to issue $1.7 billion in bonds for constructing new schools, improving and expanding existing schools, and school equipment. The other measure asks voters to approve a 0.25% (one-quarter cent) sales tax increase to fund school construction and bond debt repayment. Sales and use taxes in Guilford County do not apply to gasoline or grocery items.

The Board of Commissioners also stated in the resolution that, should the quarter-cent tax increase be approved, the county would lower the county’s property tax rate to an amount equal to sales and use tax revenues (a minimum of 0.3 cents) when adopting the 2023 budget.

County Commissioners Chairman Melvin ‘Skip’ Alston said, “The proposed sales tax is expected to generate about $20 million in revenues annually. Although the recent revaluation raised property taxes for most property owners, this resolution would allow them to save money on their property tax bill if they support the one-quarter cent sales tax. Our goal is to soften the burden for the property owners. The one-quarter cent sales tax, which is paid by everyone regardless if they are renters or tourists, will help generate revenues to help to cover our $2 billion in school needs. This is one way the property owners can vote themselves a tax decrease …this school bond and quarter cent sales and use tax is about putting our children first, not just about buildings. The condition of our schools have a direct impact on our kids’ ability to learn.”

The Guilford County bond website stated, “A 2019 independent study funded jointly by the county’s board of commissioners and school board found that district schools were, in some cases, literally falling apart. The average GCS school was built more than a half-century ago and more than 50% of schools were rated as being in either poor or unsatisfactory condition. Guilford County Schools currently has more than $2 billion in facility needs, including more than $800 million in deferred maintenance. Across 12.5 million square feet of facilities – including 126 schools, 300 buildings, and nearly 3,000 acres of land – GCS historically has received less than $0.50 per square foot for maintenance and upkeep of those facilities each year from general operating funds.”

Bond proceeds were designed to fund:

  • over $363 million in critical safety and technology upgrades at all schools;
  • construction of three new schools;
  • rebuilding of 18 existing schools;
  • full renovation of 13 schools; and
  • repairs to schools with failing roofs, heat, air conditioning, and plumbing.

Voters in Guilford County approved a $300 million school bond measure in November 2020 by a vote of 69.74% in favor to 30.53% against. At the same election, voters rejected a quarter-cent sales and use tax increase by a vote of 33.07% in favor to 66.93% against.

In 2022, Ballotpedia is covering local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and all state capitals, including those outside of the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia is also covering a selection of notable police-related and election-related measures outside of the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia is also covering all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures.