The Tuesday Count: Four measures, three states, one big ballot proposal total

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April 10, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

A little more than a month removed from a certification boost that included five measures, the Tuesday Count has elevated by a whopping four ballot measures in three states, all sent by those states' legislatures.

With the rather large heaping of ballot proposals, the total count is now towering at 84 ballot measures in 30 states.

Nebraska is the main culprit this time around, adding two measures to the general election ballot for voters to decide. The first measure is a constitutional amendment, which would raise state legislative term limits to three consecutive terms, with the current limit being two. The proposal was introduced by state Senator Tom Carlson and was passed to the ballot by the unicameral state legislature.

The other measure also deals with state lawmakers; this time regarding legislators' salaries. The statewide question would ask whether to raise state legislative salaries to $32,000 a year, effective January 9, 2013 if approved. The state legislature attempted to put an increase to $22,000 on the May 2010 ballot two years ago, but it was removed by Nebraska Secretary of State John A. Gale, following the advice of the Nebraska Attorney General.[1]

Twists and turns surrounding voter identification in Minnesota continue to occur, as the proposed constitutional amendment to require photo identification before voting in the state found its way into the fall election.

On Wednesday, April 4 the state state senate approved the bill on a 35-29 vote. The amendment passed through the state House the day before with a vote of 72-57.

Oddly, this is the second time the amendment has cleared the state Legislature. This is because this newly passed amendment is actually a "compromise" version of the bill. Though labelled a compromise by the all-Republican conference committee that drafted it, the Minnesota Secretary of State called it "worse" than the original measures that moved through the Legislature.

Supporters focused on the aspect of the measure that would end the state's so-called "vouching system" which allows for one registered voter to vouch for the eligibility of another voter when registering on election day. Opponents, however, believe that the effects of the amendment are much more reaching that the ballot summary lets on.

The last certification comes from a state that previously had no certified ballot measures. The Virginia Eminent Domain Amendment stepped into the ballot spotlight when Governor Robert McDonnell signed the amendment in the first week of April, allowing voters to have their say.

The potential amendment would prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development, thereby restricting it to only being invoked to take private land for public use. Specifically, it would update a 2007 law which states that private property can be taken only when the public interest dominates the private gain.

In citizen initiative news, Utah has its petition drive deadline this Sunday, April 15. However, according to the Utah Secretary of State's website, no initiatives are circulating

Quick hits

  • Elon University Polling releases new data on North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage: A March 26-29, poll by Elon University Poll revealed that 32% support an amendment on same-sex marriage, while 61% are opposed and 6% remain undecided. A total of 534 state residents were polled.[2]
  • Error corrected on North Dakota University "Fighting Sioux" Referendum ballot language: On Thursday, April 5, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem corrected a mistake in the wording of North Dakota Measure 4’s ballot question, specifically in what a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote will mean. Originally a ‘yes’ meant the voter wanted to keep the nickname, but the correction reverses the meaning. According to Attorney General Stenehjem the question is a bit confusing because people will be voting on a double negative.
Proposals with recent activity


SPOTLIGHT:Local election in Washington highlights school and city needs

A local election will be held in Washington on April 17 where twenty-one counties will decide 41 measures.

Of those, 21 will address school bond and tax issues. Two schools issues of note are bond measures in the Mercer Island and Issaquah school district areas.

School bonds are historically harder to pass in Washington because a supermajority of 60 percent approval is needed.

Mercer Island is asking for $196 million to help fund building projects in the district as well as making upgrades to sites and technology throughout the district. Several groups have come out in support of the bond, most noting that growth and development are important for the community as a whole as are modern schools.

In the Issaquah school district, they are asking for $219 million which would also go towards building and facility improvement projects in the district. Groups in support of the measure note that maintaining and modernizing schools is essential for continued growth as well as high levels of education offered for students.

Other issues to be decided on focus mostly on taxes and bonds and a few on annexation questions.

Stay tuned for election results.

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Wisconsin releases names of recall signers: The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has released the names of residents who signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker. The names are listed in an online database--addresses have not been included. Although there has been no legal controversy over the Wisconsin release, Washington petition signers unsucessfully challenged the release of signatures from a 2009 veto referendum.[4]

Judicial districts ruling appealed: Legislative Referendum 119 would have established judicial districts from which each of Montana's Supreme Court judges would be elected. However, last month, a state district court struck the measure from the ballot, saying that the statutory initiative effectively amended the constitution by imposing a new residency requirement on judges. The state has now appealed that ruling to the Montana Supreme Court.[5]

Lawsuit filed against OK personhood amendment: The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit against an Oklahoma initiative that would define personhood as beginning at the moment of conception. The group argues that the law is in violation of the US Constitution.[6]

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See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard