The Tuesday Count: Notable measures Ballotpedia will track on election night

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October 30, 2012

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By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

Ballotpedia covers statewide ballot measures in all fifty states every year in the months leading up to an election, updating support and opposition campaigns, ballot language, campaign contributions, paths to the ballot and other key aspects of ballot measures.

Not only does Ballotpedia formulate neutral articles for voters to read what's on their ballot, but come election night, Ballotpedia covers live election results when polls close and results start to pour in. This year is no different. However, not only will Ballotpedia cover all 176 measures in 38 states, notable ballot measures will be tracked and constant updates will be reported throughout the night.

In all, staff writers have chosen 42 key measures that have garnered a high amount of attention, campaign activity and national coverage.

With that, the notable ballot measures that will be highlighted come the big day on November 6th include the following:

Editor's Note: Not all notable ballot measures have been included in this article. Stay tuned for a comprehensive news article that will constantly update results for notable ballot measures, set to be published on election day.

Affordable Healthcare Act on the ballot?

The Affordable Healthcare Act has been a heated topic of discussion since it was signed by President Barack Obama two years ago. Since then, a handful of states across the country have tried to place measures on the ballot in hopes of letting voters decide the issue.

This year, four states have placed measures on the ballot that, if approved, would prohibit mandatory participation in any health care system.

The measures include Alabama Amendment 6, Florida Amendment 1, Montana LR-122, and Wyoming Amendment A

All four measures were placed on the ballot by legislative referral.

Triplet California tax measures

This year, California voters have decided on two ballot measures on the primary election ballot. Coming up in November, though, voters get to decide on 11 more propositions.

Although many are being talked about on the golden coast, a trio of tax measures is stealing the silver screen of California politics. The three tax measures are Proposition 30, Proposition 38, and Proposition 39.

Proposition 30 was introduced and circulated by California Governor Jerry Brown, who proposes to raise California’s sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25%, a 3.45% percentage increase over current law. Proposition 38, brought into the spotlight by Molly Munger, would increase the state income tax rates for most Californians which would end after 12 years, unless voters reauthorize it. Proposition 39, primarily backed by Thomas Steyer, would require out-of-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California.

Reconsidering Redistricing

Redistricting is the process of re-drawing Congressional and state legislative districts using updated census figures. Every 10 years, the census is conducted which results in each of the 50 states taking up the process of creating new maps to accurately reflect the updated population levels.

However, some residents in three different states were unsatisfied with newly-created district maps, resulting in three different redistricting measures being placed on the 2012 ballot via the citizen initiative process.

California Proposition 40 is an attempt to use California's veto referendum process to nullify the California State Senate redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Maryland Question 5 allows voters to decide whether Maryland's congressional redistricting plan will be upheld.

Ohio Issue 2 would create a 12-person citizen commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. According to supporters of the measure, the commission would create districts that would reflect the state's geographic, racial, ethnic and political diversity. The initiative would also bar lobbyists and elected officials from joining the commission.

Defining marriage

Four measures on the ballot in November deal with the definition of marriage, and all have grabbed headlines around the country as voters are getting increasingly interested in both presidential candidates' position on the issue.

Maine Question 1 would overturn a voter-approved 2009 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

Maryland Question 6 is in response to the enactment of the Civil Marriage Protection Act on March 1, 2012, which will allow same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license in the state beginning January 1, 2013.

Minnesota Amendment 1 would define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between one man and one woman in the state.

Washington Referendum 74 asks voters if same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state of Washington.

Other mentions

  • Minnesota Amendment 2 - would require that all voters in the state show photo identification before voting.
  • Colorado Amendment 64 - would legalize the use and possession of, at most, an ounce of marijuana for residents who are 21 and older.
  • Florida Amendment 5 - revises provisions relating to repeal of court rules, limits re-adoption of repealed court rule, and stipulates that all appointments to the Florida Supreme Court be subject to confirmation by the senate.


Local notable California measures to be covered live by Ballotpedia

In addition to live coverage of all 176 statewide ballot measures, Ballotpedia will cover a handful of local California measures. Local measure coverage will include:

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

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Federal circuit court rules on Doe v. Reed: On Tuesday, October 23, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling rejecting an appeal made by Protect Marriage Washington in a case involving the state of Washington's release of signed petitions for Referendum 71. That case, Doe v. Reed, involves a lawsuit filed by Protect Marriage Washington in an attempt to protect the identities of individuals who signed petitions in an attempt to overturn SB 5688, a law which grants grants state registered domestic partners in the state all rights, responsibilities, and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples.[1]

The original case, which argued that the public release of names, in general, was unconstitutional, had already been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010. In that ruling, however, the high court did say that Protect Marriage Washington could file an "as-applied" challenge on a particular measure, meaning that they could argue that the release of names in this instance was a violation of constitutional rights, as opposed to any releasing of names. The group did just that, and filed a new challenge one month after the Supreme Court's ruling.[1]

It is this new lawsuit which the 9th Circuit ruled on. The court's ruling essentially rejects the suit on two levels: First, that the point is moot because the names of petition signers have already been released, and second, that challengers failed to make their case because they could not bring into evidence actual cases where signers were unlawfully harassed once their names were made public.[1]

The court's opinion may be found here.

Law limiting political speech of clergy struck down: On Tuesday, October 6, U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull approved a settlement in a case involving a minister arrested for trespassing while gathering signatures for the Montana Definition of Person Amendment. Though the minister, Calvin Zastrow, faced only trespassing charges, he sued in an attempt to prevent the state frpm enforcing a 1913 law that limits the speech of ministers, clergy and churches regarding candidates and ballot issues.[2]

Assistant Attorney General Michael Black said he had no knowledge of any time the law had ever been enforced, but decided to allow the court to enter a ruling declaring the law unconstitutional. The court granted an injunction that prevents the state and county from enforcing the statute or displaying its text on "warning posters" displayed at polling places. On a side note: the trespassing charges were also dropped.[2]

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