The Tuesday Count: Certifications and elections mark the first Tuesday in May
Edited by Brittany Clingen2014 general election ballot on November 4, 2014.
The first, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment put on the ballot by the Florida Legislature, is a measure that, if approved by voters, would empower the governor to fill judicial vacancies by appointing a justice or judge from among at least three candidates, but not more than six, nominated by the judicial nominating commission. The measure would also allow the governor to "prospectively" fill a vacancy, meaning that the governor would not need to wait until a judge completes his or her term to pick a successor. There has been some controversy regarding the measure, with some arguing that the amendment is an attempt by Republicans to "stack the court" with conservative justices. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-97) argued that an outgoing governor should not be able to appoint agency heads that serve under the incoming governor. The incoming governor should be able to appoint judges that he or she can work well with. He said, “It's not good policy to be having an outgoing person deciding the balance of the court. The state Supreme Court justices are of a higher importance than who the secretary of the Department of Transportation is, so their logic just doesn't add up.”
Another potentially controversial measure was certified for the 2014 ballot in Michigan. A war over wolves is being waged in Michigan, and the certification of the Natural Resources Commission Referendum just added fuel to the fire. The measure, upon voter disapproval, would overturn Public Act 21 of 2013, a law that allows the Natural Resources Commission to directly designate game species and determine hunting seasons. The Wolf Hunting Referendum, which is also on the ballot, is an attempt to overturn PA 520. However, PA 520 was superseded by PA 21, thus rendering the wolf hunting referendum merely symbolic. The Natural Resources Commission Referendum is an attempt to overturn the newer law, PA 21. The Humane Society of the United States has already poured over $1 million into the support campaign, in hopes of overturning the law.
Petition drive deadlines
In Idaho, Illinois and Missouri, the deadline for ballot initiative petition drives passed during the first week of May. In Idaho, the petition drive deadline was May 1. Campaigns for the Minimum Wage Initiative and Medical Marijuana Initiative both failed to collect a sufficient amount of signatures by the deadline. Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Initiative, which would have increased the hourly minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2017, was not certified for the ballot, as proponents collected only 8,157 of the required 53,751 valid signatures. Supporters of the Medical Marijuana Initiative fared even worse. They were only able to obtain 559 signatures or 1% of the total required signatures by the deadline.
On May 4, 2014, Missourians working on ballot measure campaigns were required to submit signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State. Proponents of the Teacher Performance Evaluation Initiative and the Early Voting Initiative submitted signatures by the deadline, while a handful of other initiative campaigns did not. The Teacher Performance Evaluation Initiative would implement teacher performance evaluations to help determine whether a teacher should be dismissed, retained, demoted, or promoted. The Early Voting Initiative would establish a six-week period for voting and require some polling place remain open on Saturdays and Sundays during the 21 days leading up to a state or federal election.
Illinois' petition drive deadline was May 5. On April 30, supporters of the Term Limits for Legislators Amendment submitted 591,092 signatures to the Illinois Secretary of State. This is nearly double the 298,399 valid signatures required for certification. The measure would establish eight-year term limits for legislators, reduce the size of the Senate from 59 to 41, increase the size of the House from 118 to 123, and require a two-thirds majority vote in both houses for the Illinois General Assembly to override a governor’s veto. Proponents of the Independent Redistricting Amendment turned in approximately 532,000 signatures on May 1. The measure would create an independent, nonpartisan commission, consisting of eleven members, for the purpose of redrawing district lines for the Illinois General Assembly.
|States:||Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming|
May 6 election day
May 6 marks the first statewide ballot election for 2014, with Ohio voters deciding the fate of Issue 1 during today's primary election. If approved by voters, the measure will fund public infrastructure projects, including improvements to roads and bridges, by allowing the issuance of $1.875 billion in general obligation bonds over the course of 10 years. This measure was sponsored in the Ohio Legislature by Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-3) and Sen. Gayle Manning (R-13), where it was known as Senate Joint Resolution 6. If approved by voters today, the amendment will take effect immediately.
Medical marijuana initiative doing well in Florida polls: Both Gravis Marketing and Quinnipiac University Poll conducted surveys on Florida Amendment 2 in April 2014. Quinnipiac found 88% in favor of and 10% opposed to the amendment. Gravis, however, found 60% in favor of and 32% opposed to. The discrepancies between the two fall outside each poll's margin of error. Quinnipiac's polling sample was 1,413 and Gravis' was 907. In Florida, 60% of voters must approve an amendment on Election Day in order for the amendment to succeed due to 2006's Amendment 3.
Nevada AFL-CIO to oppose Question 3: The Nevada AFL-CIO, the state chapter of the nation's largest union federation, aided in getting an initiative that they now oppose on the ballot. The Margin Tax for Public Schools Initiative, Question 3 was originally supported by the AFL-CIO and the Nevada State Education Association, a statewide teachers' union. However, on May 2, 2014, the Nevada AFL-CIO voted to oppose the initiative. Danny Thompson of the AFL-CIO said, "The Nevada State AFL-CIO has always supported funding education to the National Average... The vote today in opposition to the margins tax initiative is not a vote against education. It is a vote against a flawed initiative that will cost many of our members their jobs and raise the cost of living on Nevadans on a fixed income and on citizens that are still struggling to make ends meet after years of a terrible recession."
Big name Tennessee politicians band together to support Amendment 2: Democrats and Republicans, from Gov. Bill Haslam (R) and Former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) to Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R) and Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (R), have all announced their support for Amendment 2. The amendment would empower the governor to appoint judges to the supreme court and courts of appeal, subject to confirmation by the general assembly. The appointed judge would serve an eight-year term. Thereafter, the judge could serve another term via a retention election by voters. Haslam, Bredesen and Thompson are heading the Vote Yes on 2 campaign.
Activists try to approve a fracking ban for a third time in Youngstown, Ohio:
Video publicized by Protect Youngstown of gas flaring and concerned residents near fracking operation in Trumbull County.
Proponents of a ban on fracking and the establishment of a "Community Bill of Rights" in Youngstown, Ohio, are trying for a third time to convince voters to approve their initiative. If the measure passes, it will:
- prohibit "unconventional natural gas extraction using horizontal hydraulic fracturing;"
- ban "the establishment of infrastructures supporting gas production;"
- ban "the storage, transportation or depositing of gas drilling waste products" in Youngstown; and
- establish a "Community Bill of Rights."
The May 6, 2014, vote will be the third time residents of Youngstown have weighed in on whether to ban fracking. Two previous efforts made the ballot and were defeated by voters in 2013, once in May and again in November.
Susie Beiersdorfer, a geologist and spokeswoman for the Protect Youngstown and Frackfree Mahoning Valley groups, believes this third attempt will pass. According to Beiersdorfer, "We now have a powerful base of almost 5,000 Youngstown voters that could easily sway an election or ballot question. We will win this time because the truth resonates. We needed only 6 percent more YES votes to win on the ballot question in Youngstown in November, 2013."
Concerning the initiative's proponents, Mike Chadsey, spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said, “These are good people with bad information. You put it on the ballot once and you look like concerned [sic] citizens. A second time and you look like activists. A third time and you look out of touch.”
Proponents of the initiative argue that, if fracking is allowed in Youngstown, it will cause health problems, earthquakes and severely depreciate property value in the city. They also say that the opposition's claims that the oil industry will provide prosperity and jobs for Youngstown residents do not hold up under scrutiny. Proponents state that wealthy people will leave if large-scale fracking operations are featured in Youngstown. They posit that this will eliminate the city's tax base. They also argue that, when the oil boom is over and gas companies leave Youngstown, they will take the good jobs with them and leave the city with lower property values, a ruined environment and little improvement in the economy.
Critics of the initiative argue that it will kill jobs and prevent Youngstown from benefiting from potential oil and gas industry revenue. They also argue that regulations and restrictions already in place protect residents and the environment from any harmful side-effects of fracking. Opponents say that the proposed initiative, including the "Community Bill of Rights," is too broad and strict and simply does not make sense.
Tony Paglia, vice president of government affairs for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and coordinator of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment said, concerning gas and oil extraction operations, "We think we see a tremendous amount of benefits from this industry, and with proper laws, we can manage the risks." He also said, speaking of the group Frackfree Mahoning Valley, "I'm not sure how you compromise with a group that doesn't want an industry in their area. You can't sit down and talk about the issue because they're really just ardently against this kind of development."
Mayor John McNally (D) said, "The proposed amendment in each of its attempts so far is a very broad amendment, not only does it go beyond the issue of fracking, it goes into efforts to kill potential job creation efforts here in the city of Youngstown. I am not naive enough to think that this particular charter amendment will affect only the city of Youngstown; it will affect the three-county region here in Ohio and counties in Western Pennsylvania, this is not just a Youngstown issue."
Follow this page to find out if the third time is, in fact, a charm for this contentious initiative. Election results will be posted this evening when they are made available by the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
Local California voters decide seven parcel taxes today, the fate of a San Pablo hospital rests on the results:
There are seven local parcel taxes on May 6, 2014 ballots for voters in six school districts and one healthcare district across California. The most notable measure affecting the largest number of Californians is Measure C, a parcel tax of 14 cents per square foot, requested by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District. District officials have said that, without this parcel tax, the Doctors Medical Center (DMC) hospital, located in San Pablo, could be forced to drastically reduce its services or even shut down entirely. This gives today's decision by voters in the district life-changing consequences for the medical staff at the hospital and for patients throughout the area.
Dr. Richard Stern of Doctors Medical Center said, "If the hospital closes, people are going to have to travel to either John Muir or Alta Bates in Oakland and that time on busy freeways, traffic, congestion, those minutes count and it's going to be the difference between life and death for some people."
Dr. Sharon Drager, a vascular surgeon at DMC, said, "We are all potentially DMC patients. Our cardiac and stroke center provides state-of-the-art care that Kaiser Richmond and Alta Bates and (county hospital in) Martinez can't, so those patients will need to go farther to Concord or Oakland, and that will probably result in some people losing their lives."
The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times, however, wrote that, even though the loss of the DMC emergency room would be difficult to adjust to, it was time for district voters to cut their losses and admit that the hospital loses millions of dollars per year and is not financially feasible.
| 2014 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2014 Scorecard|
- Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count for 2014
- 2014 ballot measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2014
- Potential 2014 ballot measures
- Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, "Ballot Measure Allowing Next Governor To Pack the Florida Supreme Court Heads to Voters," May 2, 2014
- Bradenton Herald, "House passes ballot measure on court appointments," April 30, 2014
- MLive.com, "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected launching second petition drive after new law blocked original effort," July 2, 2013
- Michigan Secretary of State, "Michigan Committee Statement of Organization," accessed April 2, 2014
- Boise State Public Radio, “Idaho Voters Won't Weigh In On Minimum Wage Increase Or Medical Marijuana,” May 1, 2014
- Connect MidMissouri, "Two petitions meet signature deadline," May 4, 2014
- Missouri Secretary of State, "2014-024," accessed February 24, 2014
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Teacher tenure, early voting measures submitted to Missouri secretary of state," May 4, 2014 (dead link)
- Capitol Fax, "Rauner files over 591,000 term limits signatures," April 30, 2014
- Pekin Daily Times, "Term limit initiatives proposed." April 28, 2014
- WQAD, "Petition submitted to take redistricting powers away from Illinois lawmakers," May 2, 2014
- PRNewswire, "CHANGE Illinois! Launches Statewide Redistricting Ballot Initiative," May 15, 2013
- Ballot Board, "Certified Ballot Issues for May 2014 Primary Election," accessed March 23, 2014
- Cleveland.com, "Ohio Ballot Board OKs language for state Issue 1, which will ask voters in May to reauthorize capital improvements bond program," February 20, 2014
- OpenStates.org, "SJR 6: Ohio Senate Joint Resolution," accessed March 23, 2014
- Ohio Secretary of State, "Issue 1, Proposed Constitutional Amendment," accessed March 23, 2014
- Quinnipiac University, "Florida Voters Oppose Union For College Athletes, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For Medical And Recreational Marijuana," May 5, 2014
- Gravis Marketing, "Political Poll Questions," April 30, 2014
- Las Vegas Review Journal, "Nevada AFL-CIO opposes proposed margins tax to fund public schools," May 2, 2014
- The Tennessean, "Vote Yes on 2 is best path for judicial selection," April 29, 2014
- Vote Yes on 2, "Tennesseans for Amendment #2," accessed May 6, 2014
- Protect Youngstown website, accessed January 6, 2014
- Vindy.com, "Youngstown fracking ban on ballot for 3rd time," April 12, 2014
- Vindy.com, "Don’t snuff out Youngstown’s promise as shale industry center, April 25, 2014
- E & E Publishing, "Ohio community group hopes third time's the charm for anti-fracking measure," March 11, 2014
- NGI's Shale Daily, "Youngstown’s Third Anti-Fracking Referendum a ‘Jobs Killer,’ City Officials Warn," April 3, 2014, archived April 7, 2014
- ABC Local, "Parcel tax proposed to save Doctors Medical Center," April 14, 2014
- Contra Costa Times, "San Pablo: Supporters hold telephone town hall to counter attacks on hospital tax," April 29, 2014
- Contra Costa Times, "Contra Costa Times editorial: Exorbitant West Contra Costa hospital tax won't solve the problem," February 4, 2014, archived April 7, 2014