Tagballot measures

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

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

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

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

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

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California Supreme Court rules that 2016 ballot measure made certain sex offenders eligible for early parole

On December 28, 2020, the California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that Proposition 57’s provision to increase parole opportunities for those convicted of nonviolent offenses applies to sex offenders. California Proposition 57 was approved at the election on November 8, 2016, receiving 64.5% of the vote.

Proposition 57 required the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) to enact a parole review program in which felons convicted of nonviolent crimes could be released on parole upon the completion of the sentence for his or her offense with the longest imprisonment term. The CDCR adopted a regulation that excluded persons convicted of sexual offenses from the definition of nonviolent offender.

The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) sued the department, arguing that the CDCR’s categorical exclusion of people convicted of sexual offenses was not consistent with Proposition 57. Gov. Jerry Brown (D), a sponsor of Proposition 57, argued that the ballot initiative did not grant earlier parole hearings to sex offenders.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the CDCR’s regulations creating a categorical exclusion of people convicted for registrable sex offenses from earlier parole were unconstitutional. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote the court’s opinion. Cantil-Sakauye stated that Proposition 57 entitled sex offenders convicted of crimes considered nonviolent to parole hearings. Justice Cantil-Sakauye also wrote that being eligible for parole hearings does not require an earlier release of an inmate. Regulations allow parole boards to consider a person’s threat to public safety in determining eligibility for early release.

Voters rejected Proposition 20, a measure that would have amended Proposition 57, on November 3, 2020. Proposition 20 would have defined 51 crimes and sentence enhancements, including some additional sexual crimes, as violent in order to exclude them from Proposition 57’s nonviolent offender parole program. Proposition 20 would have also made specific types of theft and fraud crimes, including firearm theft, vehicle theft, and unlawful use of a credit card, chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies, rather than misdemeanors. 

Amending Proposition 57, which is coded in the California Constitution, would require a ballot measure. For the state Legislature to propose an amendment, a two-thirds vote is required in each legislative chamber. For a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, 997,139 signatures would be required. Constitutional amendments, whether proposed by the legislature or ballot initiative, require voter approval to be enacted.

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25 states and D.C. will have increased minimum wages in 2021

In 2021, the minimum wage will increase in 25 states and Washington, D.C. The size of the increases range from $0.08 per hour (a 0.8% increase) in Minnesota to $2.25 per hour (a 31.03% increase) in Virginia, and the effective dates for the increases range from October 2020 to August 2021. Increases in 18 states are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021.

After these increases occur, minimum wages will range from the $7.25 per hour Federal rate in 20 states to $15.00 per hour in D.C., $14.00 per hour in California, $13.69 per hour in Washington, and $13.50 per hour in Massachusetts. In New York and Oregon, state laws provide for regional minimum wages.

Below are some highlights from Ballotpedia’s annual report on minimum wage increases:

  • In 2021, the largest minimum wage increases based on state laws are $2.25 in Virginia ($7.25 to $9.50), $1.50 in New Mexico ($9.00 to $10.50) and Oregon ($11.25 to $12.75), and $1.44 in Florida ($8.56 to $10.00).
  • Eleven states are increasing their minimum wage due to citizen initiatives approved by voters. The remaining 14 states and D.C. will have minimum wage increases due to bills approved by lawmakers.
  • Nine states index their minimum wage to changes in cost-of-living or inflation; 13 states and D.C. have legislative bills scheduling specific increases; and three states have citizen-initiated measures scheduling specific increases.
  • Out of the nine states with minimum wages indexed to changes in cost-of-living or inflation, eight have minimum wage laws passed through ballot initiatives, and one has a minimum wage law passed by the legislature.
  • Florida voters approved Amendment 2 on November 3, 2020. The citizen initiative was the first time voters considered a ballot measure designed to set a $15 per hour minimum wage.
  • Four states passed minimum wage increase laws in 2020: one ballot initiative in Florida and three legislative bills in Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont.
  • Of the 30 states that have a minimum wage higher than the $7.25 per hour Federal minimum wage, 12 passed their existing minimum wage laws through ballot initiatives.
  • Michigan’s minimum wage law requires an adjustment to the state’s minimum wage based on inflation unless the average unemployment rate for the year is 8.5% or higher. In 2020, the average unemployment rate is expected to be higher than 8.5% and the scheduled increase from $9.65 to $9.87 per hour was canceled.

For all the details and data, read the full report here:

Minimum wage increases in 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ballotpedia releases year-end analysis of statewide ballot measures

On December 15, Ballotpedia released its year-end analysis of statewide ballot measures in 2020.

Voters in 34 states decided 129 statewide ballot measures in 2020. Ninety-three were approved and 36 were defeated. One hundred and twenty measures were on the November 3 ballot. Nine measures were on ballots earlier in the year or on December 5. There were also three measures (one each) in the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All three were approved.

Ballotpedia’s annual report on the 129 statewide measures provides:

a breakdown of measures by topic

highlighted topics and unique measures

a breakdown of approval rates by measure type

historical comparisons of the numbers and types of measures

data on citizen initiative activity compared to recent elections

a summary of signature petition drive costs

campaign finance data and analysis

a comparison of the number of referrals to previous years

a summary of Ballotpedia’s ballot language readability analysis

a summary of bond and tax measures in 2020

Below are some highlights from the report. For more information, graphics, and data, read the full analysis.

Topics and trends

Notable topics and trends this year included election policy and redistricting, marijuana, and taxes.

Statewide measures also included:

• the first-ever appearance of gig-economy policies on a statewide ballot, 

• unique psilocybin mushroom use and drug-crime policy measures, 

• wolf reintroduction, 

• a veto referendum on cash bail, 

• an affirmative action initiative, and 

• state flag and state name change measures.

Citizen initiative activity and historical context

The 129 statewide measures voted on this year were the lowest number on even-year ballots since at least 1980. The recent high point was in 1998, with 272 measures. This year’s total is 26% lower than the average of 172 statewide measures in even-numbered years from 2010 through 2018. 

The 43 citizen-initiated measures on the ballot were also less than in most recent years. The 2020 ballot initiative numbers were higher than in 2014, when 40 citizen-initiated measures made the ballot. It was 27% less than the 2010 to 2018 average of 59 measures. It was 43% lower than the 76 citizen-initiated measures in 2016. Of the 43 citizen initiatives, four were veto referendums, 15 were initiated constitutional amendments, and 24 were initiated state statutes.

In 2020, 881 initiative and veto referendum proposals were filed. In 2016 and 2018, there were 1,069 and 947 filings, respectively. Initiative sponsors had about a 5% success rate qualifying their measures for the ballot after making the initial filing with state officials. In 2016 and 2018, the success rate was 7%.

Signature petition costs

Of the 26 states that allow citizen-initiated measures, 16 had a ballot initiative, veto referendum, or both on the ballot in 2020. At least $87.23 million was spent on signature petition drives to collect the more than 11 million signatures required to qualify the 43 citizen-initiated measures for the ballot. 

The average cost of a petition drive in 2020 was $2.1 million—nearly double the 2018 average of $1.2 million and more than twice the 2010 to 2018 average of $871,468. The cost of successful paid signature petition drives ranged from $108,358 for a pre-November veto referendum in Maine to $8.8 million for Florida Amendment 4. 

The average cost per required signature (CPRS) for 2020 measures of $8.09 was 24% higher than the average in 2018 ($6.52) and nearly double the 2010 to 2018 average of $4.70.

Campaign finance

Committees supporting and opposing the 129 statewide measures this year reported raising a combined $1.20 billion in contributions. In 2016 and 2018, ballot campaigns raised $1.01 billion and $1.19 billion, respectively. The average amount raised in 2020 was $9.3 million, compared to $6.2 million and $7.1 million in 2016 and 2018.

The 43 citizen-initiated measures accounted for about 78% of ballot measure fundraising in 2020. Support campaigns raised 63.1% of contributions, and opposition campaigns raised 36.9%. 

California had 61.5% of all ballot measure campaign finance activity in 2020. Of the 10 most expensive measures in 2020, eight were citizen-initiated measures and two were legislatively referred measures. Six were in California. The other four were in Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Alaska.

Readability

The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score for this year’s ballot titles was 17—equivalent to a first-year graduate school reading level. The average grade for all measures in a single state averaged together ranged from 10 in Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming to 32 in Virginia.

Bond and tax measures

Seven bond measures proposed a total of $20.82 billion in new debt in California ($20.5 billion), Maine ($120 million), and New Mexico ($199 million). A $15 billion school and college bond in California failed. The other six were approved.

Voters in 14 states decided 21 ballot measures on tax policy. Seventeen of the measures were approved and four were defeated.



Signatures filed for ballot initiative to legalize sports betting in California

In California, the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering reported filing more than 1.4 million signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks. The ballot initiative would also legalize roulette and dice games, such as craps, at tribal casinos. At least 997,139 of the submitted signatures need to be verified for the proposal to go before voters on November 8, 2022.

The California Constitution regulates what types of gambling are permitted in the state; therefore, a constitutional amendment is required to legalize sports betting. In 2019, Sen. Bill Dodd (D-3) introduced a related amendment in the state Legislature, but his proposal did not receive a floor vote and did not go on the ballot.

The Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering proposed a combined citizen-initiated amendment and statute on November 4, 2019. The original signature deadline for the initiative was July 20, 2020, but a superior court extended the deadline to December 14, 2020, due to the coronavirus and related restrictions. Steve Stallings, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, stated, “A strong, well-regulated gaming industry is of utmost importance to California’s tribal governments and the public.”

Before 2018, a federal law—the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—prohibited states from being involved in sports betting. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the federal government could not require states to prohibit sports betting. As of December 2020, 24 states and D.C. had passed statewide laws to legalize sports betting. In 2020, two states—Maryland and South Dakota—voted on ballot measures to legalize sports betting. In Louisiana, parishes voted on countywide measures to legalize sports betting, with 55 of 64 parishes approving legalization. 

Californians last voted on a gambling-related issue in 2014, when voters rejected Proposition 48. Proposition 48 would have ratified gaming compacts between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe.

Before 2020’s Proposition 22, the most expensive ballot measures in California were a slate of tribal gaming compact referendums, for which campaigns raised a combined $154.55 million raised ($115.06 in support, and $39.49 in opposition).

As of October 29, when the most recent contribution report was filed, the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering had received $11.32 million, including $2.00 million from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, $2.00 million from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, and $1.71 million from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Due to a coronavirus-related executive order, counties have until March 9, 2021, to report the number of qualified signatures for ballot initiatives. Without the executive order, counties would have had eight days to conduct a raw count of signatures followed by 30 days to conduct a random sample of signature validity for ballot initiatives. The executive order did not apply to veto referendums. As of December 15, signatures had been submitted for three citizen-initiated measures—two initiatives and one veto referendum; each of them would appear on the general election ballot in 2022 if enough signatures are verified. 

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Voter turnout in 2020 increased the ballot initiative signature requirements in 10 states

Voter turnout in 2020 elections caused a change in the number of valid signatures required for initiatives and veto referendums in 10 of the 26 states with at least one form of statewide initiative or referendum.

Signature requirements are determined differently depending on the state and, in 2022, will vary from 16,961 for initiated statutes in South Dakota to 997,139 for initiated amendments in California.

The majority of states with citizen-initiated measures—16—base signature requirements on ballots cast for gubernatorial candidates in the preceding gubernatorial election. Four states base signature requirements on total ballots cast in the preceding general election. Of the remaining states, three states base requirements on registered or active voters, one state bases requirements on voters for presidential candidates within the state, one state bases requirements on votes cast for secretary of state candidates, and one state bases requirements on the state population.

Below are some of the changes to ballot measure signature requirements caused by 2020 voter turnout:

• Ballot measure signature requirements increased by a range of between 7.4% and 44.2% in ten states.

• Signature requirements in the four states that base requirements on either presidential election turnout or gubernatorial election turnout in presidential election years increased by between 7.4% and 25%.

• Signature requirements for the four states that base requirements on general election turnout increased by between 26.8% and 44.2%.

• In those four states, turnout was higher than in 2016 as well, causing between 7.6% and 25.1% higher signature requirements than following the last presidential election.

• Signature requirements in the two states that base requirements on voter registration increased by 18% and 18.6%, respectively.

• Washington’s initiative signature requirement increased by 25% to 324,516 for 2021 through 2024. Since at least 2008 when the requirement was 224,880, Washington’s requirement has increased every four years by between 2% and 7%.

• Florida’s signature requirement for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments increased to 885,396 for 2022 and 2024. Since at least 2008 when the requirement was 611,009, Florida’s requirement has increased every four years by between 1% and 12%.

Read Ballotpedia’s full analysis on initiative signature requirement changes caused by 2020 voter turnout to get all of the details.



Voters approved 62 constitutional amendments in 29 states in 2020

Every state but Delaware requires voters to ratify proposed changes to a state’s constitution.

There are four ways that proposed constitutional amendments can be proposed and put on the ballot:

  • Through legislatively referred constitutional amendments.
  • Through citizen-initiated constitutional amendments put on the ballot through signature petition drives. Eighteen states allow this method of amendment.
  • Through referral by constitutional conventions. In some states, automatic ballot referrals allow voters to decide at regular intervals whether or not to hold a convention.
  • In Florida, there is a commission-referred amendment process through the Constitution Revision Commission that meets every 20 years. It last met in 2018.

From 2006 through 2020 a total of 1,016 constitutional amendments were proposed and put before voters. This data only includes constitutional amendments put on the ballot for a statewide vote. It does not include certain state constitutional amendments that only apply to local jurisdictions and were voted on only by residents of particular local jurisdictions. It also does not include constitutional amendments in Delaware that weren’t subject to voter ratification. Of this total, voters approved 733 proposed changes to state constitutions.

In 2020, voters in 29 states decided a total of 84 constitutional amendments. Of the 84 proposed amendments, state legislatures referred 69 to the ballot, and signature petition drives were used to initiate the other 15. Of the 84 amendments, 62 (73.8%) were approved.

Since 2006, the even-numbered year with the most proposed amendments on the ballot was 2006 with 148, and the year with the least amount of proposals was 2020, which had 84 proposals. The average in even-numbered years since 2006 was 109.

Among states with a process for initiated constitutional amendments, Florida and Colorado featured the most proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot from 2006 through 2020, with a total of 56 and 52, respectively. Of that total, Florida voters approved 37, and Colorado voters approved 21. Among all 50 states, Louisiana featured the most proposed constitutional amendments and the most approved amendments.

States featured an average of 20 constitutional amendments on the ballot from 2006 through 2020. Across all states, an average of 15 amendments were approved. Statistically, from 2006 through 2020, off-year election cycles featured a higher approval rate for proposed constitutional amendments than even years. In 2007, 28 of the 31 proposed amendments were approved, for a rate of 90%. In 2013, amendments passed at a rate of 89%. In 2017, all 17 amendments on the ballot were approved, for the highest approval rate since 1947. In contrast, 2006 and 2020 had the highest approval rates of even-numbered years since 2006 at 74.5%and 73.8%, respectively.



Pennsylvania voters could decide as many as eight constitutional amendments in 2021 or 2022

In Pennsylvania, the average number of statewide ballot measures for a single year is less than 1. In 2021 or 2022, Pennsylvanians could vote on upwards of eight ballot measures that address electoral and voting policies, legal language and actions, and the governor’s emergency powers.

For an amendment to appear on a statewide ballot the legislature needs to approve it during two legislative sessions, with the final vote taking place at least three months before the election. Amendments can appear on the ballot at the spring primary election or the general election.

During the 2019-2020 legislative session, the state legislature passed eight constitutional amendments. Legislators are required to pass the amendments again during the 2021-2022 legislative session before electors can vote on ratification. An amendment must receive a simple majority vote in each legislative chamber. If partisan control of a legislative chamber changes, the two-session requirement can decrease the likelihood of any amendments that were approved along party lines from receiving a final, second-session vote. Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature during the 2019-2020 legislative session. Republicans kept control of the legislature following the election on November 3, 2020. The governor’s signature is not part of the process of placing constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Two of the constitutional amendments passed with nearly unanimous support from Democratic and Republican legislators (one Republican voted against the proposals). 

  • Eliminate Separate Ballot Requirement for Judicial Retention Elections Amendment: The ballot measure would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to eliminate the requirement that judicial retention elections appear on a separate ballot (or in a separate column on voting machines) from other elections.
  • No-Excuse Absentee Voting Amendment: The ballot measure would amend constitutional language to state that no election law can require voters to physically appear at a polling place on election day. It would also remove the list of excuses related to receiving an absentee ballot.

A third amendment had bipartisan support in the legislature but was rejected by five Democrats and 16 Republicans. 

  • Childhood Sexual Abuse Retroactive Lawsuits for Two-Year Period Amendment: The ballot measure would create a two-year period in which persons can file civil suits arising from childhood sexual abuse that would otherwise be considered outside the statute of limitations.

A fourth amendment had the support of most Republicans (two dissents) and about two-fifths of Democrats.

  • Lieutenant Governor Selection Amendment: In Pennsylvania, a political party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are elected on a joint ticket at the general election. As of 2020, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run in separate primaries for their party’s nomination and then form a joint ticket. The ballot measure would allow a political party’s candidate for governor to choose their own candidate for lieutenant governor. The ballot measure would provide that political parties may approve or reject their gubernatorial candidate’s pick for lieutenant governor.

The remaining four constitutional amendments were passed as a package and mostly along party lines. All Republicans supported the legislation, while 9 percent of legislative Democrats supported the package.

  • Equal Rights Regardless of Race or Ethnicity Amendment: The ballot measure would add the following section to the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Declaration of Rights: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the race or ethnicity of the individual.”
  • Districts for State Supreme, Superior, and Commonwealth Court Elections Amendment: The ballot measure would change how voters elect justices and judges of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. As of 2020, justices and judges of these courts are elected statewide. The ballot measure would provide for justices and judges to be elected from representative districts, which the Pennsylvania General Assembly would be responsible for establishing
  • Governor’s Emergency Declaration Amendment: The ballot measure would define the governor’s power to use executive orders to declare emergencies, allow the state legislature to pass laws related to how emergencies must be managed, and limit a governor-issued emergency declaration to 21 days unless extended by a vote of the legislature.
  • Legislative Resolution to Extend or Terminate Emergency Declaration Amendment: The ballot measure would allow the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass a resolution extending or terminating an emergency declaration issued by the governor.

Since 1995, a total of 17 measures appeared on statewide ballots in Pennsylvania, and voters approved all of them. 

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