Ballotpedia:Ballot text section in a ballot measure article

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See also: Writing:Articles about ballot measures and Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Ballot Measures
This page is a content-and-style guide about how to write the "Text of measure" section for a state ballot measure article.
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The Text of the Ballot Measure is useful in an article because it gives your article a base in fact and showing your readers you have authority on the issue because you know what the official issues is, as listed by a state. State's will always publish their ballot text on their websites.

Text of measure

Locate the text

  • For State measures, the Secretary of State, or other governing body that is responsible for the state wide elections, will have on their websites the official ballot text.
e.g. Washington Secretary of State Website on Elections, Alaska Division of Elections

Add the text

  • In State articles, the ballot measure text section should be placed after the introduction section.
  • The title of the section should be:
Text of the Measure
  • Write introduction sentence: "The Following ballot text is the official language of the measure as stated by the 'Insert State Authority'."
  • Copy and Paste text on to the page, use {{quote|}} to format the text.
    • Text format may vary from state to state. Some states feature details about what a "yes" vote and "no" vote may mean. Some phrase the text of the measure like a question, while others phrase it as a statement.

Cite your source

  • Cite source of the official text using a reference tag
< ref> [Source ] </ ref>

Updates

  • If you entered text of a ballot measure off of a State website, before the official language is released, make note that source link may become dead and a revisit to the reference should be made in four weeks time.
  • Also, if a legal challenge is filed the ballot text may change. So make sure to check for updates on the language of the measure.

Wiki code

The section may appear as follows:

==Text of measure==
The official ballot text reads as follows:<ref>[www.linkgoeshere.com ''STATE Secretary of State'', "Ballot measure #," retrieved April 1, 2013]</ref>

{{quote|If approved, this measure will do A, B and C and will remove XY from the state constitution.}}

Summary, fiscal note, constitutional changes and more

Like "text of measure" the format and information provided by each state varies. In addition to the ballot question or text of measure, some states also provide a short and long summary, fiscal note and specifics as to what section is amended by the proposed amendment (only relates to constitutional amendment ballot measures). Not all states provide each and every piece of information. Some may even call the sections differently.

Such information can be added to the article. It would be featured in the following order:

Text of measure

  1. Title - ballot question or text that will appear on the ballot
  2. Summary (if applicable)
  3. Fiscal note (if applicable)
  4. Changes to text - any changes to the question or text (usually following a legal challenge)
  5. Constitutional changes - specifics as to which section or article is amended, repealed or added

Most of this information can be located on the state secretary of state's website. For legislatively-referred measures, refer to the bill approved by the legislature.


Note: Constitutional changes requires special formatting.

Some changes to the constitution include minor edits. This can featured as follows within the section:

===Constitutional changes===
If approved, SJR 8205 would repeal in its entirety [[Article_VI,_Washington_State_Constitution#Section_1A|Section 1A of Article VI]] of the [[Washington Constitution]].

The section currently reads:

{| style="width:60%; background:#FFFDD0; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
|color:#000"| 
|-
| 
| '''Text of Section 1A:'''
'''Voter Qualifications for Presidential Elections.''' 

In consideration of those citizens of the United States who become residents of the state of Washington during the year of a presidential election with the intention of making this state their permanent residence, this section is for the purpose of authorizing such persons who can meet all qualifications for voting as set forth in section 1 of this article, except for residence, to vote for presidential electors or for the office of President and Vice-President of the United States, as the case may be, but no other: Provided, That such persons have resided in the state at least sixty days immediately preceding the presidential election concerned.

The legislature shall establish the time, manner and place for such persons to cast such presidential ballots. 

|}

However, some changes require more room. For such instances follow the following example:

===Constitutional changes===
:: ''See also: [[Louisiana Budget Stabilization Fund, Amendment 4 (October 2011), constitutional text changes]]''

Amendment 4 adds [[Article VII, Louisiana Constitution|Article VII]], Section 10.3(C)(5).

The "see also" link features the text. (click here to see)

Example

Below is an example of what the text of measure and various subsections (summary, fiscal note, constitutional changes, etc.) may look like...

Click here for the full article.

==Text of measure==
===Ballot summary===
The ballot text reads as:

{{Quote|The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.<ref> [http://votexas.org/exp-statements-2011.html ''Texas Secretary of State'', "Explanatory Statements for the November 8, 2011 Texas Constitutional Amendment Election"]</ref>}}

===Constitutional changes===
:: ''See also: [[Texas Proposition 1 (2011), constitutional text changes]]''

If passed Proposition 1 would amend Section 1-b of [[Article_8,_Texas_Constitution|Article 8]] of the [[Texas Constitution]].

===Fiscal note===

:: ''See also: [[Fiscal impact statement]]''

The [[Texas Legislative Budget Board]] issued a [[fiscal impact statement|fiscal note]] about SJR 14 to the [[Finance Committee, Texas State Senate|Senate Committee on Finance]] on March 19, 2011.<ref name=fn>[http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/fiscalnotes/html/SJ00014I.htm ''Fiscal Note on SRJ 14 prepared by the Texas Legislative Budget Board'']</ref>

According to the fiscal note:

* "No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated, other than the cost of publication."
* "The cost to the state for publication of the resolution is $105,495."
*"No fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated."<ref name=fn/>

See also