The Tuesday Count: Ballot access approval leaves six marijuana measures on statewide ballots

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August 28, 2012

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Click here for the latest Tuesday Count

By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

So far this year, when voters head to the polls in November, there will be a total of 154 measures on the ballot in 34 states. Add that total to the measures that have already appeared on the ballot, and that leaves a sum of 166 statewide questions in 35 states for 2012 as a whole.

In what seemed to be a year that would not come close to matching 2010's total of 184 ballot measures, this year's count may at least get to 170 with proposed measures still on the table.

As far as this week's certifications are concerned, in Arkansas, a medical marijuana question was placed on the ballot as a citizen-initiated measure after enough signatures were found to be collected.

The measure would allow the use of marijuana by people who choose to use it for medical purposes. Those who choose to use it for medical purposes would be free from legal penalty. A group called Arkansans for Compassionate Care are sponsors of the proposed law, which is formally called, "The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act," according to the ballot title.

Supporters must have collected at least 62,507 signatures by July 6 in order to get the measure on the ballot.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, signatures were filed by the deadline. However, supporters of the statewide question were allowed 30 additional days to circulate petitions after it was found by the secretary's office that not enough valid signatures were collected. Organizers had until August 13 to obtain the additional signatures needed. On that day, supporters turned in additional signatures for the measure, stating confidence in the number of signatures that were submitted. Eventually on August 22, the initiative was found to have enough signatures for the ballot.

The proposal is the sixth marijuana measure that has been placed on the 2012 ballot. The other five states that have these measures are Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon and Washington, however not all deal with medical marijuana.

The second and final certification to come to fruition this week was a Michigan measure to add the right to collectively bargaining for public and private sector employees to the state Constitution. Like the Arkansas certification, the measure is a citizen initiative, which needed to collect a minimum of 322,609 valid signatures by July 9.

On Wednesday, June 13 supporters turned in 684,286 signatures, more than twice of what was needed to qualify for the ballot, to the Michigan Secretary of State. Since the signature requirement was met, the amendment was sent to the State Board of Canvassers for approval before being placed in front of voters.

Featured campaign quotes:
Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support
Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system.[1]

Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition
State Representative Jason Murphey
When you take the governor out of [the parole] process [for non-violent crimes] the people of Oklahoma have no one to hold accountable...[1]

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette released a legal analysis of the measure stating that it was too complicated for the ballot and could not be accurately described to voters in the summary with its limit of 100 words. This analysis was part of the board of canvassers' debate of whether or not to place the measure on the ballot.

After a 2-2 tie vote by the board, the measure was held off of the ballot. However, the Protect Our Jobs organization filed an appeal of the decision with both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.

Read more about Michigan ballot measure developments in the Quick hits section. Following a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the board voted 3-0 in favor of certifying the measure on Monday, August 27.

Alaska primary set for today

As highlighted in the last Tuesday Count report, Alaska's primary election is set for today, August 28. Here is a peak at what is on the ballot, and what will be decided when all votes are officially counted:

Quick hits

Voter guide published for South Dakota ballot questions: South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant has published an official voter guide to the ballot measures that voters will weigh in on this fall. The guide, which can be found here, offers pro and con comparisons solicited from supporters and opponents of the measures. There are a total of seven questions on the state's general election ballot.[2]

Michigan Board of State Canvassers denies three measures ballot access: On Monday, August 27, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted 2-1 on three separate ballot proposals. The odd number of votes was due to one Republican member being absent. In spite of the majority approval of the measures, all were held from the ballot due to the rule that approval requires one yes vote from both a Democrat and a Republican. All three measures, the Casino Gaming Amendment, the International Bridge Initiative , and the Taxation Amendment, received two 'yes' votes from the Democrats on the board and one 'no' vote from one of the Republican members.[3]


Juneau residents face two more questions before November

While today, August 28, is Alaska's statewide primary election, on October 2 the state's capital will have two measures on the ballot that will test Juneau residents' opinions on the local level.

A five-year extension of a 1 percent temporary sales tax and a $25 million bond issue for capital projects advanced to a borough-wide public vote after The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly adopted ordinances to place the questions in front of voters.

The potential revenue from both measures, if enacted, would fund capital improvement projects in the borough and city. Projects slated to use the sales tax money include maintaining current public buildings, building a new library facility, expanding the current arts and culture center and funding a snow removal facility at the airport.

Projects which would be funded with the bond money include renovations to the city's centennial hall, remodeling the local airport terminal and building a new learning center in the city.

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

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Alaska's Ballot Measure 2 on the August 28 primary has seen the opposing campaign outspend the supporting campaign. True or False? Click to find out!

Minnesota Supreme Court rejects challenge to Voter ID Amendment: On Monday, August 27, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union and rejected their petition to remove the amendment from the ballot. Specifically, the court rejected the argument that amendment was vague and misleading to voters. Though the court did acknowledge that the official ballot question did not exactly match the actual wording of the measure, they determined that it wasn't reason enough for the court to get involved. In a separate case, the court also threw out Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's proposed ballot titles.[4]

Ohio Redistricting Amendment challenged in court: An number advocacy groups, collectively called the Voters First coalition, has filed a lawsuit challenging the amendment's ballot language. The wording was approved by the Ohio Ballot Board but the coalition claims it is inaccurate and wants the board to reconvene and rewrite it. The amendment would take redistricting powers from state and federal elected officials.[5]

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

See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard