2016 ballot measures

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Tuesday Count and 2016 Scorecard

Potential measuresFiled Initiatives

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Sixteen (16) ballot questions have been certified for spots on nine statewide ballots in 2016, as of April 2, 2015.

One of these measures will be on a pre-November ballot, leaving 14 to be decided on November 8, 2016.

National impact

Decisions made at the ballot box set the tone for future elections. From same-sex marriage bans to same-sex marriage legalizations, for example, ballot measures have and will continue to establish important precedents.

In 2012, Americans in two states, Colorado and Washington, voted to legalize recreational marijuana, thus initiating a national political conversation. In 2014, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia did the same.[1] With a majority of Americans now supporting marijuana legalization, 2016 could feature a wave of marijuana-related ballot measures.[2] At least 20 initiatives legalizing the drug across 16 states have been proposed. Many advocates have their eyes set on California, which will likely see multiple initiative legalization efforts. "With California and some other, smaller states legalizing it in 2016, the federal government will be forced to reckon with this. We're hoping that this leads to the end of marijuana prohibition nationally," said the Drug Policy Alliance's Lynne Lyman.[3]

Other potential bellwether issues include California's first-in-the-nation plastic bag ban and Nevada's background checks for gun purchases initiative. The outcomes of both of these measures have the potential to influence the discourse surrounding environmental and gun rights debates.

History of measures

2014 had an unusually low number of statewide ballot measures. The last time the number of statewide ballot measures dipped below 160 was in 1988.

In 2012, voters saw 188 statewide ballot questions. That number was lower than the 194 average for even-numbered years since 2000. After all statewide ballot measures were finalized for the year, it became apparent 2014 would perpetuate this downward trend since the 2006 high point of 226 measures.

2014 was particularly notable for the low number of initiated measures. Though 616 initiatives were filed, a mere 35 initiated measures went before voters. The last time this number dipped below 36 was in 1974. The low number of initiatives may have been due to the dozens of regulations on the initiative process that were enacted leading up to 2014 that made it tougher for initiative supporters to qualify initiatives for the ballot. Statewide ballots in 2012 featured 50 initiatives, significantly more than the number of those certified in 2014. 2010 ballots boasted 46, slightly fewer than 2012 but still 11 more than in 2014.

Initiatives were not the only measures failing to match previous years' tallies, as 2014's total number of measures was dramatically less than that of the past two even-numbered election years. Even legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, which were the most prominent type of measure featured on state ballots in 2014, were light when compared to previous years.

Chart of number of ballot measures in even-numbered years.PNG

Signature requirements

Of the 24 states offering citizens the power of initiative, the number of signatures required to get an initiative on a ballot is based on a percentage of votes cast in an election in all but three of them. Those three states are North Dakota, where the number of signatures required is tied to a percentage of the state's total population at the last census, Idaho, where signatures are based on the total number of registered voters at the last general election, and Nebraska, where signatures are tied to the number of registered voters at the deadline for petition filing.

In Florida and Utah, the number of signatures is tied to a percentage of votes cast in the last U.S. presidential election. The other 19 states tie their signature requirements to a number of votes cast in the last general election or, in some cases, specifically the last gubernatorial election or secretary of state election. Of those states,15 held elections in 2014 which determined the number of signatures required for initiatives in 2016.

Just as 2014's national voter turnout was the lowest since World War II, turnout was lower relative to the 2012 and 2010 general elections in most states.[4][5] This caused signature requirements to fall, and in some cases, plummet in the 15 states tying 2016 initiative signature requirements to the 2014 general election. The average number of signatures required in these states fell 10.5 percent.

In California, signature requirements plunged 27.5 percent to 585,407 for initiated constitutional amendments and 365,880 for initiated state statutes. In 2014, 807,615 and 504,760 signatures were required, respectively. Signature requirements have not been set this low in California since 1979, when the state's population was only 60 percent of what it was in 2014. This has led commentators to speculate that 2016 will be an "initiative avalanche" or "initiative carnival," at least in California.[6][7] The drop was even more pronounced in Nevada, where signature requirements tumbled 45.7 percent. Nevada is unique, however, because the state's signature requirements are based on votes cast in the general election; therefore, requirements fluctuate every two years.

Only Arkansas, Colorado, Maine and Oregon saw signature requirements for 2016 initiatives increase relative to 2014 requirements.

Signature requirements for initiated statutes by state, 2014 to 2016
2014 requirements 2016 requirements Percent change
Alaska 30,169 28,545 -5.38%
Arizona 172,809 150,642 -12.83%
Arkansas 62,507 67,887 8.61%
California 504,760 365,880 -27.51%
Colorado 86,105 98,492 14.39%
Illinois 298,399 290,216 -2.74%
Maine 57,277 61,123 6.71%
Massachusetts 68,911 64,750 -6.04%
Michigan 258,087 252,523 -2.16%
Nevada 101,666 55,237 -45.67%
Ohio 115,574 91,677 -20.68%
Oklahoma 82,782 65,987 -20.29%
Oregon 116,284 117,578 1.11%
South Dakota 15,854 13,870 -12.51%
Wyoming 37,606 25,673 -31.73%

Initiative signature requirements, 2014-2016.png

Legal type of measures

Of the 15 measures certified for the 2016 ballot, 10 are legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, one is a legislatively-referred state statute, three are initiatives and one is a veto referendum.

Type of ballot measure 2016 2014 2012 2010
Legislatively-referred constitutional amendments 11 91 99 106
Initiatives 3 35 50 46
Veto referendums 1 5 13 4
Legislatively-referred state statutes 1 20 20 23
Automatic ballot referrals 0 1 3 4
Commission-referred ballot measures 0 1 0 0
Advisory questions 0 5 3 1
Total 16 158 188 184

By date

June 7

November 4

By state

Arkansas

Arkansas 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Gubernatorial Powers Amendment State Exec Allows the governor to retain his or her powers and duties when absent from the state
LRCA Removal of Cap on Bonds Amendment Bonds Removes the cap on the amount of bonds the state is allowed to issue
LRCA Terms, Elections and Eligibility of County Officials Amendment Local Gov't Increases the terms for certain county officers to four years, provides that certain officers cannot change to a civil office during their terms, and defines “infamous crime” for the purpose of determining who is eligible to hold office

California

California 2016 ballot propositions


June 7:

Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Suspension of Legislators Amendment Legislature Requires a two-thirds majority to suspend a legislator and defines the removal of rights, privileges and powers of a suspended legislator

November 8:

Type Title Subject Description
CICA/SS Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Initiative Healthcare Requires voter approval of changes to the hospital fee program
LRSS Multilingual Education Act Education Repeals Prop 227 of 1998, thus allowing for bilingual education in public schools
VR Plastic Bag Ban Referendum Business Ratifies SB 270, thus prohibiting plastic single-use carryout bags

Georgia

Georgia 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA State Intervention in Failing Public Schools Amendment Education Permits the state to intervene in “chronically failing” public schools
LRCA Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Amendment Gov't Finances Allows the legislature to add additional fees to certain convictions to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund

Indiana

Indiana 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment Hunt & Fish Preserves the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife as a public good

Minnesota

Minnesota 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Legislative Pay Council Amendment Salaries Creates an independent board that sets the pay of legislators

Nevada

Nevada 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
IndISS Marijuana Legalization Initiative Marijuana Legalizes, regulates and taxes recreational marijuana
IndISS Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative Firearms Requires that an unlicensed person who wishes to sell or transfer a firearm to another person conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer who runs a background check

Oklahoma

Oklahoma 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Right to Farm Amendment Agriculture Prohibits the legislature from passing laws abridging the right of farmers and ranchers to employ technologies and practices without compelling state interest

South Dakota

South Dakota 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Governing Technical Education Institutes Amendment Education Empowers the legislature to determine by who postsecondary technical education institutes shall be governed

Utah

Utah 2016 ballot measures
Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Oath of Office Amendment Con Language Modifies the oath of office that all state elected and appointed officials must take

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "2016 ballot measure."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

2016 ballot measures - Google News Feed

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See also

References