DemDaily: Moving Measures in the States
October 10, 2018
Ballot initiatives have become an integral part of our electoral process - as a form of direct democracy and as an avenue for checking legislative powers.
The US system of initiatives and referendums originated in Oregon in 1902 as an attempt to expand individual voting rights and the ability to hold legislators accountable. The "Oregon System" spread to other states, and became one of the signature reforms of the Progressive Era, utilized to recall elected officials and stage referendums on controversial new legislation.
There are 157 statewide initiatives on the ballot in 38 states November 6th, covering issues from marijuana, election law, taxes, healthcare and energy, to victims' rights, minimum wage and abortion.
Of those, Twenty-six states and DC allow citizen-initiated statutes or amendments, or veto or legislative referenda. Arizona and Florida have commissions with the authority to place statewide measures on the ballot.
Ballot initiatives have also become a part of the political industry, with full-fledged media and ground campaigns which, for high profile races, may run up to $70 million, depending on the state.
According to Ballotpedia, over $570 million has been raised for or against 2018 measures, including $375 million in expenditures.
Ballot Power: The 26 states that grant their citizens amendment, statute and/or veto referendum power through the initiative process.
Issues on the 2018 Ballot
|Arizona||Yes||Yes||Yes||Pension, Taxes, Energy, Education, Elections|
|Arkansas||Yes||Yes||Yes||Elections, Legislature, Gambling, Minimum Wage|
|California||Yes||Yes||Yes||Bonds, Taxes, Time, Healthcare, Housing, Labor, Animals|
|Colorado||Yes||Yes||Yes||Civil Rights & Constitutional Language, Legislature, Elections & Campaigns, Marijuana, Redistricting, Taxes, Bonds, Property, Education, Transportation, Fracking, Banking|
|Florida||Yes||No||No||Taxes, Gambling, Suffrage, Legislature, Judiciary, Education, Environment, Gov't Admin|
|Maryland||No||No||Yes||Gambling and Education, Elections|
|Massachusetts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Healthcare, Campaign Finance, LGBT|
|Michigan||Yes||Yes||Yes||Marijuana, Redistricting, Elections|
|Missouri||Yes||Yes||Yes||Elections, Marijuana, Gambling, Minimum Wage, Taxes|
|Montana||Yes||Yes||Yes||Taxes, Elections, Tobacco, Natural Resources|
|New Mexico||No||No||Yes||Judiciary, Gov't Acc, Bonds|
|Nevada||Yes||Yes||Yes||Trials, Taxes, Energy, Elections|
|North Dakota||Yes||Yes||Yes||Elections & Gov't Acc, Suffrage, Marijuana, Civil Service & Parks|
|Oklahoma||Yes||Yes||Yes||Business, Law Enforcement, Elections, Budget, Taxes|
|Oregon||Yes||Yes||Yes||Housing, Taxes, Budget, Immigration, Abortion|
|South Dakota||Yes||Yes||Yes||Direct Democracy, Taxes & Tobacco, Elections & Campaigns|
|Utah||No||Yes||Yes||Taxes, Legislature, Marijuana, Healthcare, Redistricting|
|Washington||No||Yes||Yes||Law Enforcement, Taxes & Environment, Food & Agriculture, Firearms, Energy|
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