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The Tuesday Count: A recap of 2012, a glance at 2013

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November 13, 2012

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Click here for the latest Tuesday Count

By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

One week has passed since the general election on November 6, 2012. After almost a year of tracking ballot-certified statewide measures in 2012, the finally tally for the year was 188 ballot measures overall, with 176 on the general election ballot. In all, 39 states had measures on the ballot this year.

Now that all measures have been decided, with only a few still too close to call, the Tuesday Count will now focus on 2013 ballot measures.

Historically, odd-numbered election years feature significantly fewer measures than even-numbered years. Since 1970, odd-numbered years have had an average of 46 ballot questions. In 2009, voters cast their ballots on a grand total of 32 questions. In 2011, voters chimed in on 34 ballot questions in 9 states.

As of right now, no measures have been certified for the ballot. However, that isn't stopping one state from getting the jump on adding ballot measures.

On Monday, October 15, a New Jersey Senate panel passed a resolution beginning the process of adding a constitutional amendment regarding minimum wage to the 2013 ballot. Lawmakers pushing the proposal decided to place the issue on the ballot so as to escape Governor Chris Christie's veto pen. The amendment would raise the minimum wage in the state by $1, bringing it up to $8.25 per hour, and is being sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

States that have had odd-numbered year ballot measures include, but are not limited to:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Washington

2012 election recap

Ballot measures, usually found near the bottom of the ballot during any election, may sometimes go overlooked by voters as they flock to the polls. However, 2012 was the year of the ballot measure, as same-sex marriage, marijuana, health care, abortion, collective bargaining, voter identification and other issues squeezed their way onto the ballot in certain states across the country. As the presidential election took center stage, voters in 38 states cast their vote on 176 ballot measures total on November 6.

Although results are not yet final, here is a quick update on what occurred during the general election, and how many measures are still too close to call. Official results will not be canvassed until later in the following weeks.

2012 ballot measure analysis

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Ballotpedia will conduct a 2012 ballot measure analysis, scheduled to be fully completed by mid-December. Included in this analysis:

  • Citizen initiative changes from previous years
  • Legislative referral changes from previous years
  • A breakdown of topics on the ballot
  • Initiative proposal activity throughout 2012
  • Campaign contributions for each measure
  • New features including tax and bond issues breakdown, voter turnout for measures and more.


Preview of Ballotpedia's breaking local bond and school measure analysis

Ballotpedia is currently working to update local ballot measure election results in the 11 states that are covered.

When that is completed, Part 2 of local school bond and tax question approval rates analysis will be completed. The report will list the statistics for school bond, tax and budget votes held in all of 2012 in the states of California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

The overall approval rate for the first half of 2012 was 75.9%.

The average approval rating for school property tax votes was 84.9% in the nine states[1] which had issues on their ballots. The average approval rating for school bond elections was lower with an approval rating set at 61.6% in a total of 10 states (California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin).

To view more of Part 1, 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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Michigan lawmakers propose overhaul of citizen initiative process: After a series of contentious ballot proposals led to an expensive campaign season loaded with lawsuits, legislators in Michigan are considering alternatives to their citizen initiative process. On Thursday, November 9, Representative Kenneth Horn proposed legislation banning the paying of petition gatherers for each signature they acquire. Reportedly, Governor Rick Snyder supports the proposal but adds that it may prove difficult to implement because some federal courts have ruled that the practice is a constitutionally protected form of political free speech. Former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land has suggested that the petition signing process be made completely digital so as to remove the issue of paid petitioners altogether.

Some though, such as Mark Fisk, a Democratic political consultant, say that any effort to restrict the initiative process amounts to a political power grab. Another voice in the debate, Julie Matuzak, chairwoman of the Board of State Canvassers, says there needs to be more time between the signature submission deadline and the deadline to print ballots so that there is sufficient space for legal challenges. Five measures made it to the ballot this year in Michigan, and all were defeated.[2]

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  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 9_states
  2. Detroit News, "Pressure for ballot reform growing in Michigan," November 12, 2012