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The Tuesday Count: Arizona veto referendums finish collecting signatures

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September 17, 2013

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Edited by Brittany Clingen

0 certifications
26 measures for 2013

Signatures due (News)
Marijuana (Quick Hits)
Pensions (Spotlight)

Colorado 2013 ballot measures
Arizona's September 11, 2013 filing deadline for the 2014 ballot saw the death of one measure and what will likely lead to the certification of another. Supporters of a referendum on Gov. Jan Brewer's expanded Medicaid law failed to gather the required 86,405 signatures required to place the measure on the 2014 ballot, collecting only 81,349.

Though the ballot measure is effectively dead, some opponents of the Medicaid expansion plan believe the law is illegal and are hoping to put the in front of a judge before it takes effect on January 1, 2014. The health care program was expanded by Brewer and the Arizona legislature in order to collect reimbursements, per a provision in the Affordable Care Act.[1] Though the campaign to overturn the law did not receive money until later in the game, former state Sen. Frank Antenori, one of the supporters of the Medicaid referendum, attributes the failed effort to not having enough volunteers readily available to circulate petitions.[2]

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2014 Count
Number: 38 measures
States: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming

Meanwhile, a referendum on a recently passed election law appears to be headed toward the 2014 ballot after supporters collected approximately 146,028 signatures - over 59,000 more than the required 86,405. The law was scheduled to go into effect on Friday, September 13, 2013; however, if the secretary of state declares at least 86,405 signatures to be valid, the law will be put on hold until voters can either approve or reject it in 2014. Julie Erfle, chairperson of the Protect your Right to Vote Committee - the group sponsoring the referendum campaign - said, “It’s not every day that voters get the opportunity to refer a bad piece of legislation to the ballot." The last successful referendum drive was in Arizona occurred in 1998.

If the referendum is not successful at the ballot box, the law would require all candidates running for office to obtain the same number of signatures in order to get their names on the ballot, render the act of picking up another person's early ballot illegal, and set stricter qualifications for those wanting to circulate initiative, referendum and recall petitions.[3][4]

Quick hits

Arkansas attorney general rejects wording of marijuana study measure: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected yet another marijuana ballot measure, this one seeking to legalize the drug for people participating in a proposed study.[5][6] The group Arkansas Concerned Citizens proposed an initiated state statute, ostensibly for the 2014 ballot, that would commence a 10-year study of marijuana. The drug would be legalized for participants in the study. This year marks the third time McDaniel has rejected the measure, as similar versions were rejected in 2011 and 2012. McDaniel cited ambiguities about the study and concerns over its legality at the federal level as his reasons for rejecting the most recent version.[6]

Two energy ballot measures approved for circulation in California: On Friday, September 13, 2013, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Ben Davis, Jr., the sponsor of two electricity-related initiated state statutes, received the go-ahead to begin circulating the petitions for signatures. One of the measures addresses the removal of high-level nuclear waste from power plants. The second measure would establish the publicly-owned California Electrical Utility District as the provider of electrical service, in place of privately-owned utilities. Davis must collect 504,760 valid signatures in order to place the measures on the 2014 ballot.[7]



Oregon voters decide several questions, while the Tucson, AZ, Pension Initiative is booted from the November ballot by the Arizona Supreme Court:

On September 16, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered the Tucson Pension Reform Initiative off the November ballot after a long court battle that began in Pima County Court on July 22. The lawsuit against Proposition 201 focused on circulators who were alleged felons or who made registration errors. The Committee for Sustainable Retirement has pledged to continue its efforts to overhaul Tucson's pension system, which has liabilities equaling $940 million and is currently underfunded by 37%. In a statement released soon after the State Court injunction against the measure the Committee said, "Once the court of appeals issues its opinion, the Committee will consult with its attorneys as to next steps. Regardless of how the Court eventually rules, pension reform is of critical importance to Tucsonans and we will continue this effort."[8]

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Meanwhile, voters in the cities of Albany and West Linn are deciding the fate of voter participation in two important aspects of city government. In Albany, voters are set to either give or deny themselves the right to approve new city debt and a West Linn ballot measure will decide the role of voters in approving city annexations and boundary changes.

The Albany measure was put on the ballot as a compromise between Tom Cordier, the chief petitioner of a March initiative measure limiting accrual of city debt, and the Albany city council. Measure M 22-119 requires voter approval for the city to borrow money, with a few exceptions such as emergency borrowing, bonds allowed the city by state law and refinance borrowing to save money.[9][10]

The city of West Linn has four charter amendments on the September 17, 2013, ballot, one of which would require voter approval before any area is annexed by the city. The other three amendment measures have to do with the filling of city official positions and the prevention of contract interference.[11]

Curry County voters are also being asked to approve a 3% sales tax increase. For full articles on all the ballot measures in today's election visit this page and continue to visit it for election results coverage.

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Ballot Law Update

Supporters of Cincinnati pension amendment sue to change ballot language: On Thursday, September 12, Cincinnati For Pension Reform filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton County Board of Elections in an effort to change the ballot language of a measure seeking to change the city's pension system. The group alleges that the board illegally expanded the text and purpose of the amendment through "conjecture and partisan argumentation. In particular they take issue with a section of the language that says the amendment would "require the city of Cincinnati to pay forecasted pension obligation shortfalls by creating new revenues, which may include new or additional taxes or fees, and/or other revenue sources..." The suit was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court and requests an expedited ruling.[12]

You can read more about the lawsuit as it develops, here.

Casino opponents file suit to keep repeal alive: The group Repeal the Casino Deal has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the recent disqualification of the Massachusetts Casino Repeal Initiative. The suit was filed in response to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's decision to throw out the measure because it could violate the state constitution by resulting confiscation of property from casino developers. John Ribeiro, chairman of Repeal the Casino Deal, said that Coakley's decision was unfair to Massachusetts voters who should be able to vote on whether or not they want gambling expansion in the state.[13]

A new update will be released later this month. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2013 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2013 Scorecard