Ballotpedia:Analysis of the 2013 ballot measures

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This page provides research, analyses and summaries of the measures featured on the November 5, 2013 ballots. To view detailed election results for all statewide measures on the 2013 ballot, click here. Out of the 31 measures on 2013 ballots, 24 were approved, six were defeated and one of the non-binding advisory questions in Washington remains undecided as of November 13, 2013.

Top 5 most important ballot measures of 2013

See also: 2013 ballot measures

The five most notable ballot measures on the November 5, 2013 ballot included a measure to label genetically-modified foods in the State of Washington, a $950 million tax increase in Colorado, a proposed minimum wage increase in New Jersey and a proposed constitutional amendment in Texas that would take money out of the state’s Rainy Day Fund and spend it on water projects. A city-wide initiative in Cincinnati to address the city’s $862 million in unfunded pension liabilities rounds out the list of 2013’s most notable ballot measures.

Tuesday Count and 2013 Scorecard

Number of measuresMeasures of note

November 5
ColoradoMaineNew JerseyNew YorkTexasWashington

Admin. of gov'tBond issuesBudgetsBusiness regulationCivil serviceCounty governanceDirect democracyEducationFood & agricultureForests & parksGamblingHealthcareHousingMarijuanaMinimum wageState judiciaryTaxesTransportationVeterans

Potential measuresFiled Initiatives

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaNevadaArizonaAlaskaIdahoUtahNew MexicoTexasHawaiiOklahomaColoradoWyomingMontanaNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNebraskaKansasMinnesotaIowaMissouriWisconsinIllinoisArkansasLouisianaMichiganIndianaKentuckyTennesseeMississippiAlabamaFloridaGeorgiaOhioSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaVirginiaWest VirginiaPennsylvaniaNew YorkMaineVermontNew HampshireMassachusettsRhode IslandConnecticutNew JerseyDelawareMarylandWashington, D.C.US Map I&R.png

The list of this year’s most notable measures was compiled by Ballotpedia, which has provided comprehensive coverage of statewide ballot measures since 2008.

Leslie Graves, Ballotpedia’s executive editor, noted a unique feature of the 2013 ballot: With only 31 statewide measures on the ballot in 6 states, 2013 had 28 percent fewer measures than the average number of measures on the ballot in an odd-numbered year. Historically, elections in even-numbered years see an average of 175 measures, while those in odd-numbered years see approximately 45. The statewide ballots in 2013 were light, even in comparison to ballots from other odd-numbered years.

The Five Most Notable Measures are:

  • Defeatedd Washington State’s I-522: Had it been approved, I-522 would have required that foods produced entirely or partly with genetic engineering be labeled as such when offered for retail sale in the state, beginning in July 2015. A similar measure, California’s Proposition 37, lost narrowly on that state’s November 6, 2012 ballot after a long list of food companies spent more than $45 million in the waning weeks of the campaign to defeat it. I-522 followed a very similar path.
  • Approveda Texas Proposition 6: Texas typically votes on a significant number of proposed constitutional amendments in off-years. 2013 was no exception, with nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot. In previous years, the practice of holding off-year elections has led to voter turnout in the single digits. This doesn’t mean that the off-year amendments are unimportant. Proposition 6 in 2013 proposed to take $2 billion out of the state’s Rainy Day Fund and spend it on water projects. This led to fierce opposition from fiscally conservative groups in the state. Proposition 6, along with the other 8 constitutional amendments, were approved and will be added to the state's already lengthy constitution.

Statistical summary

The charts below include all statewide election results from the November 5, 2013 elections:

2013 election stats
Total Approved (%) Defeated (%) Undecided (%)
31 24 (77.4%) 6 (19.4%) 1 (3.2%)

Initiated measures

Initiatives Amendments Statutes Approved Yes.png Rejected No.png
3 1 2 0 3

Legislative and other referrals

Referrals Amendments Statutes Approved Yes.png Rejected No.png
23 17 6 22 1

Advisory questions

Questions Approved Yes.png Rejected No.png
5 2 2[1]

Citizen initiative changes

See also: Chart of 2013 ballot measure changes

Twenty-four of the twenty-six I&R states did not have any citizen initiatives on their 2013 ballot. Of the six total states with measures on the ballot, three were initiative and referendum states. However it should be noted that Maine, though it is an I&R state, did not have any initiatives on the 2013 ballot, as all five of the questions on Maine's 2013 ballot were legislatively-referred state statutes.

  • A total of nine less citizen initiatives appeared in 2013 than in 2011.
  • There were no veto referendums on the ballots.
  • This chart does not include advisory questions.
# of initiatives in 2011 # of initiatives in 2013 Change between the two years
Totals: 12 3 -9

Legislative referral changes

See also: Chart of 2013 ballot measure changes

In total, 2011 featured 22 legislative referrals, while 2013 featured 23. 2013 had one more referral on the ballot than 2011. Louisiana (-6) and New York (+6) had the most significant changes in the number legislative referrals on the ballot.

Of the thirty-four states that featured legislative measures on either 2010 and/or 2012, not a single one featured a double digit number of referrals on both the 2010 and 2012 ballots.

  • Three states did not have legislative referrals on the ballot in 2012, but did in 2010. The states included: Vermont, Tennessee, and Iowa.
  • In both 2011 and 2013, Texas had the highest number of referrals.
  • The following statistics include automatic ballot referrals and advisory questions.
# of referrals in 2011 # of referrals in 2013 Change between the two years
Totals: 22 23 +1

Issues on the ballot

See also: Chart of 2013 ballot measure issues

Following previous years' trends, taxes was one of the most prevalent issues on 2013 ballots, with five of the 31 measures addressing the topic. However, in 2013, taxes shared the title of most prevalent issue on the ballot with bond issues, as all of the five measures on the Maine ballot addressed this topic. Despite the fact that four of the six states with November 5, 2013 ballot measures didn't feature any that address taxes, the two states whose ballots did contain tax issues - Colorado and Texas - had enough to make up for the other states' shortages. Both Colorado measures addressed taxes, one with regard to marijuana and the other education, while one-third of Texas' measures were devoted to the topic. In 2012, 33 measures addressed taxes in some form, while in 2011, an off-election year like 2013, eight measures dealt with the subject - the most for that year. In 2010, 40 measures dealing with taxes were placed on the ballot, again leading the tally. The 2009 ballots saw six tax measures out of a total of 32.

Hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage, marijuana and health care tend to steal the media spotlight, however, in 2013, Colorado's Amendment 66 received significant coverage in state-wide publications. The measure, which was ultimately defeated, asked voters whether or not the tax rate should be increased in order to raise nearly $1 billion for public education funding.

The second most popular topics on 2013 ballots were those regarding the administration of government, education, and veterans, with each of these issues addressed on three of the 31 measures.

More information on the breakdown of 2013 ballot measure topics can be found here.

The chart below highlights the most popular issues for 2013:

Top Issues # measures per issue
Taxes 5
Bond issues 5
Admin. of gov't 3
Education 3
Veterans 3
Budgets 2
Gambling 2
Forests & parks 2
State judiciary 2

Measures throughout the years

See also: 2013 ballot measures

The chart below on the left highlights the number of measures that appeared on the ballot from 2000 through 2013. This includes all citizen initiatives (initiated state statutes, initiated constitutional amendments and veto referendums) , legislative referrals (legislatively-referred constitutional amendments and legislatively-referred state statutes), and advisory measures.

2013 turned out to be a year with an unusually low number of measures on the ballot. Historically, elections on odd-numbered years see approximately 45 measures on average, as evidenced by the chart below on the right; there were 34 in 2011. Going back to 1989, the average number of measures on the ballot in an odd-numbered year is slightly over 43, with about 9 states featuring ballot measures. With only 31 statewide measures on the ballot in 6 states, 2013 had less than half the average number of measures on the ballot.

2013 was also a historically low year for the number of measures that were petitioned onto the ballot. In 2013, there were only three such measures on statewide ballots: Colorado Amendment 66, Washington I-517 and Washington I-522. This compares to an average of 7.1 such measures from 1993 through 2011.[2]

Year Initiatives Legislative referrals Other measures TOTAL
2013 3 24 5 31
2012 63 122 3 188
2011 12 22 0 34
2010 50 130 4 184
2009 8 24 0 32
2008 74 92 8 174
2007 4 39 1 44
2006 83 140 3 226
2005 19 26 0 45
2004 65 107 1 173
2003 7 60 1 68
2002 55 162 6 223
2001 4 35 0 39
2000 82 151 2 235

Year Number of states with measures Number of measures on ballot
2013 6 31
2011 9 34
2009 7 32
2007 9 43
2005 12 45
2003 14 67
2001 9 39
1999 16 71
1997 7 41
1995 7 33
1993 10 44
1991 5 34
1989 8 36


     Highest in the category

2013 initiative activity

See also: Chart of 2013 initiative activity

In total, there are 26 states with some form of direct democracy. In 2013, for all measures on the ballot, a total of two initiative and referendum states had measures up for a public vote. It should be noted that Maine, which is an I&R state, had measures on the 2013 ballot, however all of these were legislatively-referred state statutes, not initiatives placed on the ballot by the people.

Colorado and Washington both had citizen initiatives on their 2013 ballots. However, before those measures were placed on the ballot, they had to be filed and proposed to their state election officials before they could circulate for signatures. This means that some initiative efforts can fail in numerous ways - unconstitutional ballot text, shortage of valid signatures, missed deadlines, etc. For those reasons, not all measures filed make the ballot; in fact, many fail for one reason or another.

In 2013, a grand total of 133 initiatives were filed with intent to circulate for signature gathering. Of those 133 initiatives, only 3 made it on the ballot. In the findings below, we took a deeper look at the filed initiatives, those that were certified, and a breakdown of measures that were proposed in each state. This analysis does not include legislative proposals or referrals to the ballot.


See also: Ballot initiatives filed for the 2013 ballot
# of initiatives proposed # initiatives certified in 2013  % certified
Totals: 133 3 .023%

Outcome - certified initiatives

NOTE: The chart below specifically details the number of proposed initiatives per state and the number/percentage of successfully certified initiatives for 2013 ballots.


     Highest percent certified for 2013

I&R State # of initiatives proposed # initiatives certified in 2013  % certified
Colorado 32 1 .031%
Maine 3 0 0%
Mississippi 5 0 0%
Ohio 8 0 0%
Washington 85 2 .024%

Signature collection costs

See also: 2013 cost per required signature report and 2012 cost per required signature report

Signatures had to be collected to qualify each of the three initiatives on the 2013 ballots. Below is a summary of the Cost per Required Signature (CPRS), which is based on how much money was spent by the support campaigns to gather enough signatures to land each measure on the ballot. The "Cost Per Required Signature" metric was used to determine the ultimate costs.

According to Ballotpedia's 2012 CPRS Report, nationally, the most expensive signature collection effort in 2012 was in California, where $10.86 was spent to qualify California Proposition 30 for the ballot. California's Proposition 30 was also a tax increase to boost educational funding. The average CPRS in 2012, nationally, was $4.06.

Colorado Amendment 66

  • The CPRS for Amendment 66 - given that $779,046 was spent on signatures versus a minimum requirement of 86,105 signatures - comes to an astounding $11.05 per required signature.

Washington I-517

  • The CPRS for I-517 - given that $305,454 was spent on signatures versus a minimum requirement of 246,372 signatures - comes to $1.24 per required signature.

Washington I-522

  • Signatures to qualify Initiative 522 for the ballot were collected by Peoples Petitions LLC, among other groups.[8]
  • The CPRS for I-522 - given that $407,747 was spent on signatures versus a minimum requirement of 246,372 signatures - comes to $1.66 per required signature.

2013 Campaign Contributions

See also: 2013 Cost per required signature report

A total of 31 ballot questions were certified for 6 statewide ballots in 2013, however only 9 ballot measures had any type of campaign finance activity. A total of $48,487,923.00 was contributed to ballot measures in 2013, according to official reports filed as of November 5, 2013.

Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png



These numbers represent the total amount donated to both sides - the support and opposition - of the measure.

2013 may have been a light year for ballot measures, but it proved to be an interesting one for campaign finance. In total, nine measures - including all three of the initiated state statutes - received campaign donations for one or both sides of the issues. As of October 22, five measures in three states - Colorado, Washington and Texas - were the only ones with any campaign financing. Three measures in New York and one in New Jersey eventually received money on the support side, leaving Maine as the only state with no campaign financing for any of its five measures. Texas is the state that raised the least money overall. New Jersey's Public Question 2, which asked voters if the minimum wage should be raised by $1, and New York's Proposal 1, which asked voters to approve casinos in upstate New York, experienced a last minute surge of donations, pushing both measures into $1,000,000 and above territory. Texas, New York and New Jersey did not raise nearly as much money overall as Colorado and Washington. It also doesn't hurt that both Colorado and Washington each had two heavily-financed measures on the ballot, with one in each state proving to be a highly contentious measure that pulled in big bucks from across the nation.

Washington's I-522, a measure that would have required labels on foods containing GMOs if it had been approved by voters, and Colorado's Amendment 66 - which would have increased the state income tax in order to provide an additional $950 million for public education funding - had a tug of war throughout the final weeks preceding the election over which measure would raise the most money on the support side. Ultimately, Amendment 66 surpassed I-522 with over $10 million raised. The Yes on I-522 campaign raked in just over $8 million. However, the big story in the Evergreen State was not how much the supporters of I-522 raised; rather, it was how much its opponents raised. The "No on 522" campaign amassed an astonishing $22 million - $22,009,926 to be exact - breaking the record for the most money ever raised for or against a ballot measure in the state of Washington. Total amounts for the support and opposition campaigns of each ballot measure are listed in the chart below:

2013 Campaign Finance Allocation:


     Most contributions

State Support Opposition
Colorado Amendment 66 $10,427,029 $36,043
Colorado Proposition AA $65,635 $2,147
New Jersey Public Question 2 $1,300,000 $955,984
New York Proposal 1 $2,178,500 $0
New York Proposal 5 $501,482 $0
New York Proposal 6 $501,780 $0
Texas Proposition 6 $1,149,721 $0
Washington I-517 $308,339 $620,043
Washington I-522 $8,431,294 $22,009,926
TOTAL $24,863,780 $23,624,143

Who gave the big bucks?

  • Monsanto gave $5,374,411 in opposition to Washington's I-522.
  • DuPont Pioneer gave $3,880,159 in opposition to Washington's I-522.
  • Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps gave $1,750,000 in support of Washington's I-522.
  • Pepsi Co gave $1,620,899 in opposition to Washington's I-522.
  • Bayer CropScience gave $1,091,654 in opposition to Washington's I-522.
  • Nestle USA gave $1,052,742 in opposition to Washington's I-522.
  • The National Education Association gave $1,000,000 in support of Colorado's Amendment 66.

Unique 2013 campaign finance facts:

  • The committee "No Over Taxation," which is opposed to Colorado's Proposition AA, reported $1,650 worth of non-monetary gifts. This included $1,250 worth of marijuana joints given by Rob Corry to be used in free joint protests.[9]
  • Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), claiming it didn't create a separate PAC to collect money in opposition to Washington's I-522, thereby dodging disclosure laws. GMA did eventually create a separate PAC and disclosed the donors.[10][11]
  • The Employment Policies Institute, an organization that represents restaurant owners, has pledged to spend $500,000 on radio and TV ads in opposition of New Jersey's Public Question 2. However, just a week out from the election, that money has yet to materialize.[12][13]
  • One local measure seeking a $15 minimum wage in the little town of SeaTac, Washington, has campaigns with war chests more suited to a statewide race. Proposition 1 has produced a very disproportionately well funded battle in the small city of SeaTac, which is home to only 12,100 registered votes. Support and opposition campaigns have received contributions totaling $1,585,763. This amounts to $131.05 per registered voter and, with the projected voter-turnout of 55%, this figure rises to about $238 per vote. This is some of the highest per-vote campaign spending on record.[14]

Bond and tax issues on the ballot

Below is a summary of the bond and tax issues that appeared on the 2013 statewide ballots:

Bond issues

Bonds in 2013 Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Total bond measures: 5
Approved: 5
Defeated: 0

Maine was the only state with bond issues on the ballot in 2013. All five of the questions on Maine's ballot asked voters whether or not bonds should be issued for various amounts of money to be put toward transportation, higher education, and military projects. A total of $149,500,000 worth of bond dollars were put in the hands of voters; each bond question was approved. The following shows a comparative breakdown of all five questions:

Measure Amount Percentage of Total Result
Question 1 $14,000,000 9.36% Approveda
Question 2 $15,500,000 10.37% Approveda
Question 3 $100,000,000 66.89% Approveda
Question 4 $4,500,000 3.01% Approveda
Question 5 $15,500,000 10.37% Approveda
Total: $149,500,000 100.00% Approveda

Tax issues

Taxes and bond issues turned out to be the two most prevalent issues on 2013 ballots, with all of the bond issues appearing in Maine. The measures addressing tax issues were split between Colorado and Texas. Both of the measures in Colorado, Prop AA and Amendment 66, addressed tax issues. Prop AA asked voters whether or not two different taxes should be levied on recreational marijuana, while Amendment 66 sought to raise the state's income tax in order to fund public education. Prop AA was approved by voters, but Amendment 66 was not. Texas' three tax measures - Prop 1, Prop 3, and Prop 4 - all asked voters to approve various exemptions. All three of these measures, along with the other six constitutional amendments on the Texas 2013 ballot, were approved.

Tax proposals Business Cigarette Income Inheritance Property Real estate Sales Approved Approveda Defeated Defeatedd
Ban - - - - - - - 0 0
Break - - - - - - - 0 0
Cap - - - - - - - 0 0
Decrease - - - - - - - 0 0
Discount - - - - - - - 0 0
Establishment - - - - - - 1 1 0
Exemption 1 - - - 2 - - 3 0
Increase - - 1 - - - - 0 1
Renewal - - - - - - - 0 0