The Tuesday Count:Surge of measures fills state ballots to the brim

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September 11, 2012

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By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

Big things came in big packages this week for the Tuesday Count.

With a colossal jump up in total, the ballot measure count for this week sprung to 185 measures in 38 states, surpassing 2010's ballot measure total of 184.

In all, 173 of those measures will appear on the November 6, 2012 general election ballot.

The new additions were found in various states, and although there were a vast amount of ballot-certifications, below is a breakdown of a handful of those certifications in this special edition of the Tuesday Count:


Hawaii was one of two new states that were found to have measures on the ballot this week, with both certified measures being referred to the ballot by the state's legislature. The two Hawaii measures contain very different political topics to be considered by voters, with one measure proposing to authorize the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds. The bonds would assist dam and reservoir owners to make their facilities compliant with current safety standards.

Meanwhile, the other measure would authorize the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to appoint retired judges to temporary stations.

The state's total of two measures on the ballot equals the total number of proposals that were found on the 2010 Hawaii ballot.


Kansas was the final of the two newly-added states with measures on the ballot, with one measure cemented for public vote this November.

The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment would allow the state's property tax on boats to be altered. It was proposed during the 2012 state legislative session. A similar measure was on the 2000 statewide ballot, but was rejected with 50.7% of voters against it.

A 2/3rds vote in both chambers of the Kansas State Legislature is required to refer an amendment to the ballot.

Rhode Island

Previously, the state of Rhode Island was reported to have two measures on the ballot dealing with gambling.

Now, with the addition of five bond measures to the ballot, the total number of proposals for Rhode Island voters to vote on this fall increased to 7.

Featured campaign quotes:
Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support
Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system.[1]

Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition
State Representative Jason Murphey
When you take the governor out of [the parole] process [for non-violent crimes] the people of Oklahoma have no one to hold accountable...[1]

In all, voters will be deciding on measures that would authorize bonds for higher education, veterans' homes, clean water projects, environmental management projects and affordable housing projects.

According to reports, the total amount of bonds for all five questions would total to no more than $201,000,000.

Rhode Island is no stranger to bond issues, as in 2010 there were 3 bond measures on the ballot - all were approved. In 2008, two bond measures were on the ballot with all gaining voter approval as well. Six more bond measures were on the 2006 ballot, with all but one being approved.


The initiative process for 2012 in Colorado is over, as the last measure with signatures being verified was ultimately placed on the ballot in November.

The measure, proposed by the group Colorado Fair Share, urges the state to support tweaks in state policy on limiting corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections. The measure seeks to charge state lawmakers with furthering the state's policy on the matter and ask congressional delegates to support efforts to overrule the Citizens United decision by amending the U.S. Constitution.

In short, the measure is an advisory question. An Advisory Question is a type of ballot measure in which citizens vote on a non-binding question. The largest difference between an advisory vote and any other type of ballot measure is that the outcome of the ballot question will not result in a new, changed, or rejected law or constitutional amendment. Rather, the advisory question symbolically makes heard the general opinion of the voting population in regard to the issue at hand.

Read more about 2012 measures that are on the ballot here.

Quick hits

Maryland Attorney General’s Office sheds light on the effects of Question 5: According to reports from the Carroll County Times, the referendum on Maryland's redistricting plan won't have any effects until 2014, if any at all. David Paulson, communications director for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, says that any congressional candidates who win the election this year will serve in the districts marked out by the new map, regardless of whether or not the referendum rejects the plan. If the plan is rejected, Governor Martin O'Malley would be required to submit a new plan in January 2013. The Maryland General Assembly would then vote on the plan during the 2013 legislative season, the result being that any changes would not take effect until 2014. According to Paulson, there is also the possibility that the governor could submit the exact same plan, which, if approved by the legislature, means that the referendum will have had no effect.[2]

Poll released on Georgia Charter Schools Amendment: According to a poll released Monday, September 10, by Sand Mountain Communications, about 50% of voters support the amendment. Of the 1,331 polled, 25% were opposed to the measure, with another 25% undecided. The margin of error was +/- 3%. The measure would allow the state to establish charter school even in districts where the local school board voted them down.[3]


Local Oregon measure's fate hinges on three separate votes

In Wood Village City, Oregon, a measure is slated for the November 6, 2012 general election that would allow the development of an entertainment and casino complex on the location of the former Multnomah County Kennel Club.

However, in an interesting twist, three things must happen on the day of the general election in order for this measure to be enacted.

The first two events that must occur directly relate to two casino measures that are on the Oregon statewide general election ballot. Both measures must be approved in order for the local measure to have any impact. One measure would amend the state constitution to authorize privately-owned casinos. The second measure would authorize a single privately-owned casino in Multnomah County.

Then, the local measure on the Wood Village City ballot, which is in Multnomah County, would have to be approved as well.

To read more details about this measure, click here.

The Tuesday Count Spotlight highlights notable developments from local ballot measures across the country as well as international ballot measures.

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Formal charges brought against those accused of faking signatures on North Dakota measures: A total of 15 people were formally charged on Friday, September 7, with faking petition signatures, 9 of which are North Dakota State University football players. Those charged have their first court appearance for the case scheduled for October 2. Maximum sentence for the misdemeanor they are charged with is one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.[4]

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There is one more ballot measure election this year until the November 6 general election. True or false? Click here to find out!

Court battle of Michigan ballot measures finally over: On Wednesday, September 5, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its ruling on four separate ballot measures brought before it. One measure, the "Protect Our Jobs" Amendment, was already on the ballot but was confirmed by the court. Two other measures, the International Bridge Initiative and the Taxation Amendment, were approved by the court and sent on to the ballot. The final measure considered, the Casino Gaming Amendment was disqualified from the ballot by a 4-3 vote in the court. The court stated its reason for disqualifying the measure was because petitioners did not warn potential signers that the amendment would cause a reduction in the constitutional authority of the Liquor Control Commission.[5]

A new update will be released later this month. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!