The Tuesday Count: a budget-heavy October ballot approaches for Louisiana
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Edited by Al Ortiz
Events leading up to the 2011 statewide elections have reached a boiling point, particularly down in Louisiana. With only four days remaining, the statewide measure election for five out of the six proposals on the ballot near the bayou is coming in fast.
This Saturday, October 22, marks the very first ballot measure election in the country, leaving residents in Louisiana to decide on constitutional amendments referred to the ballot by the state legislature. Voters will have a chance to vote on three state budget measures, one health care proposal and one tax question.
Amendment 1 would redirect Tobacco Settlement Proceeds to the TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) scholarship program once the balance in the Millennium Trust reaches $1.38 billion. Amendment 2 would allow for a minimum of 10% of nonrecurring revenue to be applied toward the state retirement systems. The lone health care measure, Amendment 3, would authorize the Louisiana Legislature to establish a private custodial fund.
To read the last two measures that will be on the October ballot, click here.
As for measures scheduled for public vote on the November 8 general election, a proposal for the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey will be on the ballot, and a new poll shows slight support with a little less than a month away.
The recent poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, found that 52 percent of voters surveyed will support the measure, while thirty-one percent said they will oppose it. However, according to Peter Woolley, the director of the poll, when commenting on other findings of the study: “Voter turnout will be relatively low in November, and the percentage of people voting on the referendum will be even lower. But even those who have little or no interest in the issue, favor sports betting by a 10 point margin."
According to the poll, seventy percent of voters say they have not heard any information about the measure.
The effects of the referred ballot measure, if enacted by a majority vote, can be confusing due to federal mandates that are currently in effect.
Despite being referred to the ballot by the state legislature and calling for a constitutional amendment, the measure is not binding. Sports betting would not be allowed in the state until a federal law that limits sports betting in four states is repealed or overturned.
As confusion churns in New Jersey, so does controversy in Ohio. Campaigns in the attention-grabbing Senate Bill 5 veto referendum have engaged in yet another altercation, this time in the form of two television advertisements.
An ad for the "Vote No on 2" campaign features Marlene Quinn, an elderly Cincinnati woman who states in the video that she plans to vote 'no' on Issue 2, which is a vote against Senate Bill 5. However, certain comments Quinn used in the advertisement were then used by the "Vote Yes on 2" campaign's ad in order to sway voters to approve Senate Bill 5.
Finally, as elections draw closer, measures slated to appear on ballots across the country are beginning to accumulate attention from a wide array of media outlets.
|Proposals with recent activity|
SPOTLIGHT:November 1 election for Colorado residents
Where as the November election date is the 8th for most states, Colorado hosts their November election in odd years on the first Tuesday of the month.
There are thirty counties hosting local elections on that date, with questions on the ballot ranging from marijuana issues to school taxes and hotly-debated sick leave. There will be twelve questions throughout the state that either deal with taxing marijuana products or prohibiting marijuana dispensaries in their areas. There will also be thirty-six questions that deal with school issues, both asking for bond money for construction project and tax renewals or increases for further school use.
In Boulder, the issue getting the most media attention is the attempt by the city to create their own electricity utility. City officials sought to separate themselves from their current electricity provider and saw the creation of their own utility as the most feasible option.
In Denver, the only issue on the city ballot is to allow a set amount of paid sick leave for employees. City officials, and even the State Governor, have come out against this measure as anti-business, but employees and health organizations state that it would lead to better work efficiency. The measure was brought to the ballot through a successful petition drive by residents.
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BALLOT LAW UPDATE
Ohio redistricting referendum ruling: On October 14, The Ohio Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision allowing the referendum against Ohio's congressional redistricting maps to proceed. Despite the GOP's 6-1 advantage on the court, defenders of the Republican-drawn congressional map could not sway the justices. The Ohio Constitution prohibits referendums against "appropriations for the current expenses of the state government." However, the court found that the redistricting legislation's $2.75 million appropriation, designated for local election officials to implement the new map, does not fund current expenses and, thus, does not exempt the bill from referendum. If the referendum gathers enough signatures, the new redistricting plan will be suspended until voters weigh in. This would create significant confusion as courts and lawmakers struggle to choose a new plan as the elections approach.
- The court's opinion in State ex rel Ohioans for Fair Districts v Husted can be found here.
Washington signature privacy ruling and appeal: On October 17, a federal court ruled that signatures for a 2009 domestic-partnership referendum must be made public. The plaintiffs in Doe v Reed argue that publishing the signatures will open up signers to harassment or intimidation. However, the court found that the claim was unfounded in light of the fact that the proponents of secrecy were willing to testify publicly and that donors to the measure, whose names have already been published, have not been harassed. Plaintiffs have already appealed the decision despite the fact that the signatures have now been released.
- The court's opinion in Doe v Reed can be found here.
| 2011 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2011 Scorecard|
- 2011 ballot measures and 2012 ballot measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2011
- Potential 2011 ballot measures and Potential 2012 ballot measures
- The State Column, "Poll: Voters support legalizing sports betting", October 10, 2011
- Cincinnati.com, "Court ruling throws 2012 elections into chaos," October 16, 2011
- Ballot Access News, "Ohio Faces Another Referendum on Election Law," October 16, 2011
- Ballot Access News, "Appeal Filed in Doe v Reed, the Lawsuit on Privacy for Petition Signers," October 18, 2011
- Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Orders Washington State to Release Names and Addresses of Referendum Signers," October 17, 2011