The Tuesday Count: As another 2011 election arrives, 2012 begins to stir up again
Edited by Al Ortiz
The final campaign push has come for 2011 ballot measures. Only one week remains before the November 8 general election.
Colorado, however, kicks off the general election season with an election of its own today. Polls opened at 7 a.m. MST and will close at 7 p.m.
After months of signature gathering for Proposition 103, campaigning both for and against the initiative, media attention and other controversies, State Senator Rollie Heath's tax increase proposal is finally in the hands of state voters.
Local elections are also taking place in Colorado. A total of thirty counties posted election information on their websites. There will be 158 measures on the ballots; 34 of the measures will deal with a school bond and tax votes. The other 124 measures deal with marijuana, city/county bonds and taxes and district questions.
To view more information about local Colorado ballot measures being decided, click here.
Proposition 103 hasn't been the only tax increase proposal gaining attention on the first day of the month. Today also marks the petition drive deadline for the proposed 2012 sales tax increase measure in South Dakota. The initiated state statute would implement a one-percent sales tax increase that would begin in 2013. Specifically, the measure would take 20 percent of the revenue and place it in the South Dakota Moving Forward Fund.
If the measure is placed on the ballot and enacted by voters, and its potential effects materialize, it would give schools approximately $725 more per student annually and about $70 million would be added to Medicaid reimbursement rates per year, according to supporters. Additionally, the state would receive $18 million of generated revenue to handle increased Medicaid caseloads.
Supporters of proposed initiated state statutes were required to collect 15,854 signatures for initiated state statutes by November 1. Supporters of proposed initiated constitutional amendments, on the other hand, have until November 7 to turn in 31,708 signatures, but there are currently no amendments circulating. According to the South Dakota Secretary of State's website, the sales tax measure was the only initiative effort gathering signatures.
However, states with proposed 2012 measures have seen a spike in filed proposal numbers this past month, with the total number of filed ballot initiatives rising from 307 to 348 since October 1, 2011. The state of California had the biggest climb, with 56 initiatives as of November 1, up 16 from the last initiative count.
As more initiatives were filed for 2012, one was removed from the ballot in the state of Arizona. The Arizona Clean Elections repeal measure, previously certified for the November 6, 2012 election, was struck from the ballot by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink. Fink ruled on October 26, 2011 that the proposed partial repeal of the "Clean Elections Act" be taken off the ballot, stating that it violates the state's single subject rule.
An appeal was not expected from legislators who lead the effort for ballot placement, but another revised bill in 2012 legislative session will most likely be pushed, according to reports.
|Proposals with recent activity|
- 2011 Election Information: View Ballotpedia's list of opponents and supporters of 2011 ballot measures. Websites are also included.
- A superior court judge ruled earlier this week that recent judicial reforms were unconstitutional. The issue, however, may be headed to the 2012 statewide ballot. More information is here.
- An initiative was proposed in Missouri that would phase out income taxes while levying a state sales tax on more purchases. According to reports, the sales tax would be capped at 7 percent and would include goods and services. 13 versions were filed.
- Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor (R) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would tie legislative compensation to median household income.
SPOTLIGHT: On the decline
The number of local ballot measure elections being held on November 8 is a steep decline from the number of local ballot measure elections held in the last three Novembers in California. Elections held in even-numbered years historically attract much higher numbers than those held in odd-numbered years. Comparing the number of local ballot measure elections on November 8 to just those on the November 3, 2009 ballot indicates a 30% decline in the number of measures on the ballot in these two odd-numbered years.
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BALLOT LAW UPDATE
Minnesota disclosure rules: Under existing rules, organizations are required to disclose donor information for dollars spent in favor of or in opposition to a ballot measure. Whether spending qualifies as such depends largely on the explicit intentions of the group. However, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board had adopted rules instructing the Board to research ways of extending disclosure requirements to less explicit forms of speech. Now it appears that the Board may eliminate this rule and abandon the its research plans. Opponents worry this will leave the door open to advocacy groups with a desire to hide their donors. The Board has already tangled with pro-marriage amendment groups over stronger disclosure requirements. These groups fear that publishing the names of supporters could open them up to harassment or intimidation.
Florida religious funding lawsuit: Last Thursday, October 27, a Florida circuit court heard arguments for the removal of Amendment 7 from the state's 2012 ballot. The proposed measure would prevent individuals from being barred from participating in public programs if they choose to use public funds at a religious provider. Essentially, the measure moves to repeal the state's ban of public dollars for religious funding, also known as the "Blaine Amendment." Opponents worry that the measure is designed to legalize school vouchers. They argue that the measure's title and summary conceal this fact and are misleading.
The lawsuit also challenges 2011 legislation that allows the Florida Attorney General's office to rewrite ballot summaries or titles when the Florida Supreme Court removes a certified measure from the statewide ballot. The lawsuit argues that authority for such a changes lies only in the Florida State Legislature. Blocking this provision would prevent the title and summary from being revised in order to keep the measure on the ballot.
| 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
- Mitchell Report, "Sales tax backers collect enough names," October 31, 2011 (dead link)
- South Dakota Secretary of State, "South Dakota Ballot Question Status for 2012 General Election," accessed November 1, 2011
- Ballot Access, "Arizona State Court Removes Ballot Measure that would Eliminate Funding for Public Funding," October 26, 2011
- Tucson Weekly, "AZ Clean Elections Wins a Round in Court," October 26, 2011
- Historically, eleven county election offices -- those in Amador County, Del Norte County, El Dorado County, Glenn County, Inyo County, Kings County, Modoc County, Napa County, Nevada County, Tuolumne County and Yuba County -- do not list local ballot measure contests on their websites until after the election has taken place. See November 2, 2010 election in California.
- Minnesota Independent, "Campaign finance board considers relaxing disclosure rules on ballot initiatives," October 31, 2011
- Florida Capital Bureau, "FEA sues to block voucher amendment," July 20, 2011
- Associated Press, "Judge hearing challenge to Fla. religion amendment," October 27, 2011 (dead link)