2013 ballot measures

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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

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Thirty-one ballot questions were certified for a spot on six statewide ballots in 2013. This was the final count for all statewide ballots. In total, 24 were approved and seven were defeated.

Of the 31 ballot measures voters faced in 2013, only 3 were petitioned onto the ballot.

Though the official number of ballot measures was 31, five of the seven measures that were on the ballot in Washington were non-binding advisory questions. A provision of a 2007 ballot measure, Initiative 960, directly led to the placement of these advisory votes on the ballot. Under that approved measure, a statewide advisory vote is required on all tax increases passed by the state legislature. Initiative 960 was sponsored by Tim Eyman and originally required a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature or a legally binding vote of the people to approve any tax increases or eliminations of tax credits. Though the supermajority requirement was struck down by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2013, the advisory vote clause was left intact.

Colorado had the latest signature petition deadline in 2013, which fell on Monday, August 5. However, finalizing the ballot was delayed by several weeks due to an extended signature confirmation effort for Colorado's Amendment 66. Supporters turned in 165,706 signatures by the deadline, nearly double the number required. However, after taking a random sample of 8,286 signatures, 3,641 were determined to be invalid. Supporters needed to attain a verification rate of at least 110 percent per any random sample; the sample rate from the signatures selected yielded only 107.88 percent. This triggered the tedious process of reviewing the signatures "line-by-line," delaying the official certification of the measure. Secretary of State Scott Gessler ultimately determined that 89,820 signatures were valid, thus allowing voters to decide whether or not to raise taxes in order to collect approximately $950 million for public education funding.

Seven states were identified as having the potential to see measures on the ballot in 2013: Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Louisiana is another state which often features ballot measures during odd-numbered election years. Some ballot measures were slated for the 2013 ballot, but the legislature was unable to create a special election for this year. Therefore, those ballot measures were moved to the 2014 ballot.

To read week-by-week reports detailing how the 2013 ballot came together, see the archive of Tuesday Count reports.

Number of 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; 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 42, 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.[1]

Year # of states with measures # 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
Averages: 9.2 42.3

Measures of note

See also: The 5 Most Important Ballot Measures in 2013

Though 2013 ballots featured a comparatively low number of measures, there were still several that garnered significant media attention and discussion in their respective states. Colorado's Amendment 66 had equally long lists of both supporters and opponents. The measure would have raised a projected total of $950 million for funding public education by increasing the state's income tax rate. It would also have allowed for the implementation of the new Public School Finance Act Senate Bill 213, which was passed by the legislature but cannot be enacted because Amendment 66 was defeated. Supporters of Amendment 66 spent a record-shattering $11.05 per required signature to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Of the nine legislatively-referred constitutional amendments on this year's Texas ballot, one measure in particular, Proposition 6, had stolen the spotlight. The measure asked voters whether an amendment should be implemented to create the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan. Approximately $2 billion would be withdrawn from the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) - colloquially referred to as the Rainy Day Fund - to finance the newly created funds. Supporters believed that approving this measure would be vital to the stability and economic health of the state, as water shortages have been an issue in recent years due to a severe drought. Opponents believed that creating the two new funds would be unnecessary and also disagreed that money from the ESF should be raided and put toward this issue.

In Washington, the issue of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) was the hottest topic on this year's Washington ballot. If approved by voters, the GMO-related measure, Initiative 522, would have required GMO labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Support and opposition campaigns poured millions of dollars into the campaign. A poll conducted September 3 - 5, 2013 showed that 66 percent of voters support the measure, 21 percent are opposed, and 13 percent are undecided. A similar measure, California's Proposition 37, was narrowly defeated on November 6, 2012. Proposition 37 enjoyed a 61% lead in the polls in early September; roughly $45.6 million was spent to defeat it.

By date

November 5

By state

November 5 elections:


Colorado 2013 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description Result
LRSS Proposition AA Taxes/Marijuana Impose a 15% excise tax and a 10% sales tax on all marijuana sales in the state Approveda
CICA Amendment 66 Taxes Raise additional taxes for funding public schools, and implement the new School Finance Act (SB 213) Defeatedd


Maine 2013 ballot measures

November 5, 2013:

Type Title Subject Description Result
LRSS Question 1 Bond issues $14,000,000 bond for maintenance and improvement projects for Maine Army National Guard readiness centers Approveda
LRSS Question 2 Bond issues $15,500,000 bond to update and improve University of Maine system facilities Approveda
LRSS Question 3 Bond issues $100,000,000 transportation bond to match an estimated to match an estimated $154,000,000 in federal and other funds Approveda
LRSS Question 4 Bond issues $4,500,000 bond for a public-private partnership for a new science facility at the Maine Maritime Academy Approveda
LRSS Question 5 Bond issues $15,500,000 bond to upgrade buildings in the Maine Community College system Approveda

New Jersey

New Jersey 2013 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description Result
LRCA Public Question 1 Veterans Allows veterans' organizations to use money collected from existing games of chance to support their organizations Approveda
LRCA Public Question 2 Minimum wage Increases the state minimum wage Approveda

New York

New York 2013 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description Result
LRCA Proposal 1 Gambling Allows casino gambling statewide Approveda
LRCA Proposal 2 Veterans Gives veterans with combat-related disabilities extra points when competing for civil service promotions Approveda
LRCA Proposal 3 Budgets Allows municipalities to continue exceeding their debt limits for sewage facilities Approveda
LRCA Proposal 4 Forests and parks Attempts to solve a dispute with private landowners over property in the Adirondack forest preserve Approveda
LRCA Proposal 5 Forests and parks Allows a land exchange involving the Adirondack forest preserve with NYCO Minerals Approveda
LRCA Proposal 6 State judiciary Raises the mandatory judicial retirement age in the state to 80 Defeatedd


Texas 2013 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description Result
LRCA Proposition 1 Taxes Property tax exemption on residence for surviving spouse of armed services member killed in action Approveda
LRCA Proposition 2 Admin. of gov't Elimination of an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund Approveda
LRCA Proposition 3 Taxes Increase in number of days that aircraft parts may be located in the state and be exempt from taxation Approveda
LRCA Proposition 4 Taxes Property tax exemption for partially disabled veterans on their residence under certain conditions Approveda
LRCA Proposition 5 Housing Rules and regulations governing reverse mortgage loans Approveda
LRCA Proposition 6 Budgets Transfer funds from Rainy Day Fund to water projects Approveda
LRCA Proposition 7 County governance Rules governing how to fill vacancies on governing bodies of home-rule municipalities Approveda
LRCA Proposition 8 Healthcare Eliminate the state constitutional provision that authorizes a hospital district in Hidalgo County Approveda
LRCA Proposition 9 State judiciary Expansion of types of sanctions against state court judges after disciplinary proceedings Approveda


Washington 2013 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description Result
ITL Initiative 517 Direct democracy Penalties for harassing petition organizers, limit pre-election litigation, extend signature gathering time Defeatedd
ITL Initiative 522 Business regulation Requires labels on food offered for sale if food is made with genetic material changed Defeatedd
AQ Advisory Vote 3 Taxes Eliminates a leasehold excise tax credit for taxpayers who lease publicly-owned property Defeatedd
AQ Advisory Vote 4 Taxes Imposes an aircraft excise tax on commuter air carriers Defeatedd
AQ Advisory Vote 5 Taxes Extends the insurance premium tax to some insurance for pediatric oral services Approveda
AQ Advisory Vote 6 Taxes Eliminates a retail sales tax exemption for certain telephone and telecommunications services Approveda
AQ Advisory Vote 7 Taxes Extends estate tax on certain property transfers and increased rates for estates over $4,000,000 Defeatedd

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  1. Ballotpedia counts initiated state statutes, initiated constitutional amendments and veto referendums as measures that are petitioned onto ballots.